In 1932, the Locustwood Cemetery Association deeded 400 free gravesites to the American Legion Department of New Jersey for use by Legionnaires and their spouses, and erected a monument memorializing their service.
As part of the transfer of gravesites, the Legion committed to holding an annual memorial on the first Sunday after Memorial Day, a tradition that has continued since 1935!
Over the years the number of veterans buried there has grown to over 3,000. On the Sunday prior to Memorial Day, members of Post 372 gather with local first responders, Boy Scouts and many others to flag the graves of all veterans buried at the cemetery.
In years past the service has included a parade with Legion Family units from across the state. A brass band would serenade the crowd with patriotic tunes. There would be a keynote speaker. This year the event was scaled back because of the pandemic.
June 6, 2021, saw the 86th year the department has held the service to remember those veterans buried at Locustwood. Camden County Commander Truitt Andress began the service by welcoming everyone. He then introduced Department Chaplain Mike Schaffer. This year's service coincided with the 77th anniversary of D-Day. In his opening prayer, Schaffer read FDR’s D-Day prayer, read to the nation on June 6, 1944. Department Commander Robert Newell, Department Auxiliary President Ruby Crammer and SAL Detachment Commander Matt Thalasinos each delivered brief remarks remembering those veterans whose final resting place is Locustwood.
This was followed by the placing of a red, white or blue carnation on the memorial wreath by the officers of all three Legion Family units.
The service concluded with a rifle salute by Post 281 and the sounding of taps by Camden County Adjutant Will Betts.