Tomorrow will be President James Buchanan’s 232nd birthday. In his honor, around 100 people showed up to lay a wreath on his grave and make a few speeches.
I got there early before the crowd arrived.
Then, out of the early morning mist, walked six apparitions from the past in military uniforms from his times. James was a private in the Pennsylvania Militia, which has now become the National Guard and many Guardsmen and Guardswomen were there to join the ranks.
Then the color guard marched out and the speeches soon began. One of the speakers referred to his nickname as “Old Buck,” but that wasn’t his nickname until very late in his life. Most of the time he was referred to as “The Old Public Functionary,” not a nickname that trips lightly off the tongue, but it did honor the 50 years he spent in service to his country as Representative, Congressman, Senator, Secretary of State, Ambassador to Russia and England, and of course, 15th President of the United States. To me, it also represented the 160 years he has spent as scapegoat for the Civil War, even though he, actually, did more than anyone to try to prevent that war.
Buchanan served during the War of 1812, and his outfit was detailed on a secret mission to help the Maryland Militia. Fortunately, by the time they got there, the battle was already won, and so, he returned home to civilian life. He is the only President who joined the military as an enlisted man and wasn’t made an officer. The Head of the Pennsylvania National Guard used that fact as an opportunity to thank all the enlisted men, who protect our Country.
The festivities ended with a 15 musket salute by the group I now knew weren’t apparitions, but Civil War reenactors, who probably travelled here from a little town across the river named Gettysburg. I was amazed at how quickly they were able to fire and reload their muskets for the next volley.
In total, fifteen shots were fired, but I was only quick enough with my camera to captured 10. If you look carefully at their feet you can see the tubes of gunpowder they tore open with their teeth to fill the barrel for the next round.
It was a fine tribute to a very under-rated President, and I definitely hope to go again next year.
Peace & Love, and all of the above,