"It is sweet and honorable to die for one's country."
That is the translation of the Latin phrase on Oakwood Cemetery's Civil War monument. The obelisk, which lists the 29 men from Cuyahoga Falls who died during the war, turns 150 on Oct. 26. Their names may be eroding from the sides of the monument, but their sacrifice is recorded in the pages of history.
On Oct. 29, there will be a celebration of the monument and men who served from the "Village of Cuyahoga Falls" during the Civil War. The ceremony will start at 10 a.m. in the Veteran's Section of the cemetery and will be followed by a Civil War walking tour.
The event is being sponsored by the General A. C. Voris Camp (Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War), the James A. Garfield Camp (SUVCW) and Company G, 29th O.V.I. Living History Association.
Tom Vince, archivist of Western Reserve Academy and a member of the Cuyahoga Valley Civil War Roundtable, will be the master of ceremonies. Father Jerome Lukachinsky, nationally recognized Chaplain of the James A. Garfield Camp, will give the invocation.
Cuyahoga Falls Mayor Don Walters, Voris Camp Commander Paul Huff and Ted Dudra, a re-enactor with the 29th Ohio, will be among the speakers. Lincoln Presenter Gerald Payn will recite the Gettysburg Address.
John Gurnish, Civil War author and speaker, is organizing the walking tour. The tour includes the monument and 10 people from the Civil War, including graves of veterans of the 7th, 19th and 29th Infantry, Battery D, 1st Ohio Light Artillery as well as the 2nd and 6th Ohio Cavalry. A Civil War telegrapher, an engineer who served on board the Monitor Nahant, and a local Constable who served as a "Squirrel Hunter" will be on the tour also.
Other tour participants will include Captain Steve Guldeman from the Cuyahoga Falls Police Department; a representative from the United States Army; a representative of the Naval Brigade of the James A. Garfield Camp; Dr. Frederick Marquinez, Junior Vice-Commander of the Voris Camp; Harold George, Civil War author and speaker; and Bill Ankeny, both a 29th Ohio re-enactor and descendent of a 29th Ohio veteran.
Five Civil War monuments are scattered throughout Summit County. Oakwood Cemetery's is the oldest recorded one in the county and one of the oldest in the state. The county's other monuments are located in Akron (1876), Boston Heights (Unknown), Peninsula (1889), and Twinsburg (1867).
According to the Summit County Beacon on the afternoon of Oct. 26, 1866, a large crowd showed up for the dedication, despite inclement weather. Alvin Coe Voris, a brevetted Major-General during the war and the highest ranking officer to come out of Summit County, gave the dedication speech.
The names on the monument reflect the two units that most Cuyahoga Falls veterans served with: the 115th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (15) and Battery D, First Ohio Light Artillery (8). Three of them died while prisoners of war. Many of them survived Andersonville only to perish in the United States' worst maritime disaster.