Friends of Mount Moriah cemetery host visitors from Mississippi (August 19, 2013)
On August 19, 2013, The Friends of Mount Moriah Cemetery were host to Mr. and Mrs. Robert Long, who were visiting from Starkville, Mississippi. Mr. Long, who is in his seventies, was born and raised in Philadelphia but moved away when he was eighteen when he joined the Air Force. His mother and grandmother are buried in Mount Moriah Cemetery.
Mr. Long served as an Air force engine mechanic and spent time in Japan post-WWII. His mother passed away when he was four months old. He does not have any pictures of her nor does he know how she died. Mr. Long’s father is also deceased.
Recently, Mrs. Long, Sue (at left in maroon blouse), began searching the internet for answers to the questions related to her husband’s family history and came across the Friends of Mount Moriah Cemetery website. She sent us an email and we located the grave in question, which you see here. Elizabeth Long was his mother and Ida May Reed was his grandmother.
The Longs were very appreciative for the information provided to them by the Friends and inquired about a visit. Their plan was to drive to Philadelphia from Mississippi to visit the grave.
Ken Smith, Treasurer on the Board of The Friends took it upon himself to tackle the weeds in Section F (photo at right), where Mr. Long’s relatives are buried. He and other volunteers labored many hours during the week prior to the Long’s visit to cut the high grass over the entire Section F (Philadelphia side of the cemetery) and clear the overgrown grass from the hillside walkway. The latter was done to allow Mr. Long clear access to climb the hill in his motorized wheelchair.
On Monday morning, August 19, the Longs completed their 1000 mile 15-hour trip by minivan to Philadelphia. They were met and directed to Mount Moriah Cemetery by Ken Smith. Several Board members were on hand to greet them, including Paulette Rhone, Ed Snyder, and Sam Ricks. The Longs were extremely grateful to the Friends for making them welcome and assisting them in their journey. It was a very emotional time – they brought flowers, a flag, and a small statue of a boy labelled “Bobby.” Mr. Long told me his mother used to call him that. Ken and Ed helped to secure the statue to the headstone.
After returning to Mississippi, Mrs. Long said (via Facebook) the following about her and Bob’s visit to Philadelphia:
“It is such a great thing that all of you good people are doing for this cemetery. And thanks again for helping us decorate the grave and to Ken for showing us how to get to the cemetery and back to the Hotel we were staying at. May God bless each and every one of the Friends of Mount Moriah Cemetery.”
“Friends of Mount Moriah are just wonderful people. You have to have a big heart to undertake what you are doing for the Cemetery. As I have said before several times, we cannot thank you enough for what you have done for us. Bob says for him it was a dream come true after 76 years to finally go to his Mother’s final resting place.”
The experience was one that we will all remember for a long time and in which we feel truly honored to have participated. It is yet another example of the mission of The Friends of Mount Moriah Cemetery: “honoring the memory of those interred in her folds through restoration, historic research, education and community engagement.”