'As we honor soldiers of the past, we also remember soldiers of today and what they are sacrificing so we can enjoy our freedoms.'
Navy veteran Fred Johnston said it is important to remember American history and the people who made it.
That was the reason he and his daughter, Rebekah, drove from their home in Shaler to Allegheny Cemetery on Saturday afternoon for the dedication of a memorial stone honoring Commodore Joshua Barney.
Barney, a Maryland native, was a naval hero during both the American Revolution and the War of 1812. While en route to his home in Kentucky, he died and was buried in Pittsburgh in 1818. In 1848, his remains were moved to what was then the newly opened Allegheny Cemetery in Lawrenceville.
Four of Barney's descendants took part in the program, sponsored by Maryland chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Sons of the American Revolution and United States Daughters of 1812.
Mary Jane Stockstill, an eighth-generation descendant, described him as "a faithful and obedient servant to our country.
"This native Baltimorean most significantly sought to secure and maintain peace on our home shores as commander in defense of the Chesapeake Bay area during the War of 1812," she said.
"His fortitude gained time for Baltimore to prepare its defenses to fight off a British attack," said Christos Christou Jr., Maryland state president of the War of 1812 Society.
Speakers also emphasized the continuing debt that Americans owe to the members of the armed services. "As we honor soldiers of the past, we also remember soldiers of today and what they are sacrificing so we can enjoy our freedoms," Sharon Goetz, Maryland state registrar for the DAR, said.
Laura Smith, regent, or president, of the Pittsburgh chapter of the DAR, read a proclamation from Mayor Luke Ravenstahl declaring Aug. 4 to be "Commodore Joshua Barney Day" in the city.
The 10-by-24-inch stone marker was provided by the Col. John Eager Howard Chapter of the Maryland Society of the Sons of the American Revolution.
The new stone has been placed next to the granite monument erected in 1880 over Barney's remains and those of Lt. James Lawrence Parker.
Parker died in 1847 from wounds he suffered during the Mexican War.
Fife player David Embrey and drummer Robert Ayres provided period music for the ceremonies. They were part of a Maryland-based colorguard wearing uniforms from the Revolution and the War of 1812 that would have looked familiar to Barney.
The re-enactors fired three volleys over his grave just before bugler Michael Foster played "Taps" to close the 30-minute program.