By Julie Huss
DERRY — There was the former slave turned soldier, a German sailor who jumped ship to join the Union Army and a soldier's daughter who spent much of her life serving Civil War veterans.
All these people were honored Saturday during Derry's Civil War Day celebration, held at First Parish Church and nearby Forest Hill Cemetery.
The day was full of observances and memorials, many at the local graves of those with ties to the area who served in the Civil War and are buried at Forest Hill.
The Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War hosted an encampment on the front lawn of the church all day.
Special cemetery tours offered information on individual soldiers, including former slave John MacPherson of the famous 54th Massachusetts' Glory Regiment, Union sailor George Hessenius and Confederate soldier John Pullen. A new veteran marker was unveiled at his gravesite by a family member from Virginia.
Any donations received during Civil War Day will go to support the upkeep of the Civil War veterans' graves at Forest Hill. Young people are being encourage to "adopt" a gravestone and help with upkeep.
Derry Civil War event coordinator T. J. Cullinane thanked everyone who took part in the event.
He said Civil War Day continued Derry's plan to honor those from this area who fought in the Civil War during the war's official 150th anniversary.
Anyone interested in learning more about those who are buried in Forest Hill with ties to the Civil War can call 216-5791 or email to DerryCW@yahoo.com.
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