Events from Memorial Day

Published 1:30 pm Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Several events in the Heart of Virginia sought to honor service members who died by telling historical accounts and holding celebrations to bring families and friends together. A few of the events are recounted below:


Farmville Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 7059 attended a Memorial Day observance at the Amelia Veterans Cemetery, placing a wreath to honor fallen veterans. Members also placed flags at veterans’ graves at the Westview and Odd Fellows cemeteries and participated in the Woodland Inc. Memorial Day program Monday.

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Participants took time to remember a man from Prince Edward County whose life was shaped by the Civil War and World War I.

Thomas Garnett, known as Howard, was remembered during a presentation at Sailor’s Creek Battlefield Historical State Park Saturday.

Speakers during the event included Park Representative Chris Calkins, and Garnett’s great-nephews Blair, Jimmy and L.W. Garnett. Howard and his brothers lived on adjacent farms, meaning they grew up together and remembered hearing stories about Howard’s service in WWI.

Participants, during the presentation, were able to view a display of relics that belonged to Howard during his service in WWI.

Howard, born in 1892, lived in Lockett House, located in Rice. The house was converted to a hospital during the Civil War. Pockmarks from bullets can still be seen on the outside of Lockett House, which is currently owned by Jimmy Garnett.

Howard served in the army 318th Infantry Regiment, working overseas in France.

Howard, Blair said after the presentation, carried an appreciation of the army back with him to Prince Edward, as Blair can recall Howard singing Army songs as he went about his day. Calkins remembered approaching Howard before his death in February 1978 to ask him questions about the Civil War, but Howard only wanted to share stories of WWI.

Grace Monroe, Garnett’s only child who attended the presentation, said she was not aware of all of the relics her father kept from serving in WWI until she was packing up to move from Lockett House in Rice, where she lived, to Lynchburg.

While she remembered her father showing her his uniform from the regiment and canteen, the piece she discovered that surprised her the most was the gas mask, which her father used while in trenches in France.

“I thought it would be terrible to have to use it,” Monroe said.

“I have heard more about here living away from it,” Monroe said about learning about her father’s and home’s history while moving away. “Lockett House was my home.”


Charles Minnigerode wrote what he thought was his last letter to his mother and family. Patrick Schroeder, historian with Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, recounted the story and letter during an event at the Farmville Confederate Cemetery held by The United Daughters of the Confederacy, Farmville Chapter 45 Monday. Minnigerode worked in a munition factory in Richmond until joining the staff led by Fitzhugh “Fitz” Lee, nephew of Robert E. Lee during the Civil War and was shot and wounded in Appomattox. Fitzhugh and other soldiers believe Minnigerode was dead and left him at the battlefield.

“My greatest regret in leaving this world is to leave you and the rest of the dear ones,” Minnigerode wrote in the letter while on the battlefield, which Schroeder read.

But Minnigerode ended up surviving and goes on to recover in a Farmville hospital, Schroeder said.

After the presentation, Confederate re-enactors assembled and shot rifles to commemorate the event.


The outdoor courtyard at Farmville Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center hummed with energetic music and conversation as residents and family members enjoyed a cookout to remember Memorial Day Monday.

Debbie Savage, who works in admissions with the center at 1575 Scotts Drive, said the annual cookout is a way for residents and staff to reflect on sacrifices made by those who died as a result of serving the U.S.

“It’s important to the residents,” Savage said about the recognition of Memorial Day. “They expect it, as they should.”

Sabrina Davis, activities manager with Farmville Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, said that the Memorial Day celebration allows residents at the center to come together.

Social worker Kimberly Harris had a similar view for the event, and said the event allows residents to reflect on the work of veterans and service members who died.

“We’re celebrating life and the afterlife,” Harris said.