Laying of the Lilacs Program & Gravestone Cleaning Program
Date and Time
Saturday May 27, 2023
11:00 AM - 1:00 PM EDT
Saturday, May 27 11:00 Laying of the Lilacs 12:00 Gravestone Cleaning (Veterans!)
Benzonia Township Cemetery, Grand Army of the Republic Monument, Follow Event Signs
Jane Purkis (231) 882-5539
Benzonia Township Cemetery by the Grand Army of the Republic Monument. The annual community ceremony is held to honor the area’s Civil War veterans at the mushroom-shaped monument made by the E.P. Case Grand Army of the Republic Post 372 veterans in the late 1880s. In his book “Waiting for the Morning Train,” Pulitzer-prize winning author Bruce Catton recalls seeing Civil War veterans at ceremonies at the monument. The Benzie Area Historical Society, with the leadership of Susan Case Lutes and Jane Purkis, renewed their annual “laying of the lilacs” tradition more than 20 years ago. Lilacs grew and continue to grow profusely in Benzie County so this early spring bloomer was used by veterans in their spring ceremony. William Case and his family will be honored this year with a program presented by Benzie Area Historical Society Curator and historian Jane Purkis. Senator Case was the author of The Tragedy of Crystal Lake, his 1973 account of the lowering of Crystal Lake 150 years ago this summer. The Benzie Area Historical Society’s annual “Laying of the Lilacs” will include music again this year with violinist Dorothy Byers. The public is encouraged to attend, and lawn chairs are suggested. Following the program, Purkis will lead a gravestone cleaning workshop, focusing on the graves of veterans. The Benzie Area Historical Society has launched a county-wide project to train community volunteers how to non-invasively clean headstones.. This is the first of four gravestone training sessions this year. Each participant will need to bring a “cleaning kit” consisting of a bucket, a natural stiff brush, a toothbrush, a trowel, a trash bag and a plastic or wood “scraper.” No metal objects may be used to clean the stones. Both the Laying of the Lilacs Ceremony and headstone cleaning session will be held at the Benzonia Township Cemetery, Love Rd, Benzonia on Saturday, May 27. The ceremony begins at 11:00, with the gravestone cleaning session expected to start around noon. Follow the Event signs. For more information about the ceremony, program, or cleaning session, please contact the Benzie Area Historical Society by calling (231) 882-5539 or by emailing email@example.com.