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NEWS | Aug. 22, 2016

Wreath Laying Honors Memory, Legacy of Benjamin Harrison

By Zachary Mott

INDIANAPOLIS (August 20, 2016) – On the 183rd anniversary of his birth, more than 60 people gathered to celebrate the life and presidency of Benjamin Harrison at his memorial site in the Crown Hill Cemetery of Indianapolis, August 20.

“Benjamin Harrison continued in the footsteps of five generations of Harrisons, serving his state and his country as a dedicated military leader before following his grandfather’s path into the presidency,” said Brig. Gen. Stephen E. Strand, the deputy commanding general for the 88th Regional Support Command who represented President Barack Obama during the ceremony.

As the 23rd president, Benjamin Harrison was sworn into office on the 100th anniversary of George Washington’s inauguration as the first American president. Because of this, Harrison was known as the “Centennial President,” a position he held from 1889 to 1893. Additionally, Harrison is the last president who was also a general during the Civil War.

Harrison’s presidency is noted for many things, said retired Army Maj. Christopher S. Barnthouse, who served as the master of ceremonies for the event, as he highlighted Harrison’s push to modernize the Navy by adding battleships to the fleet. Additionally, Barnthouse said, Harrison sought to protect the open spaces by passing the Forest Reserve Act.

There were also speakers from the local and national Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution during the ceremony. Benjamin Harrison’s wife, Caroline Scott Harrison, was first President General of the National Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution. The Indianapolis chapter is named in her honor.

The Harrison family lineage dates back to the beginning of American history as his great-grandfather, Benjamin Harrison V, signed the Declaration of Independence and later served as the governor of Virginia. Harrison’s grandfather, William Henry Harrison, was the ninth President of the United States.
Benjamin Harrison was also the first, and only, president from the state of Indiana. The local Army Reserve center bears his name to this day.

“Remembering and paying tribute to our nation’s past is an important part of preparing for our nation’s future,” Strand said. “The laying of a wreath is a noble and heartfelt tribute. The wreath symbolizes both the beauty and brevity of life.”