The Recorder of Deeds and Veteran Affairs departments, along with the Chester County Commissioners, have organized a flag placement event for the fallen heroes buried at Old Evergreen Cemetery in Coatesville in observance of Memorial Day 2021. This event will unite the community, including organizations such as the Valley Township Board of Supervisors, Coatesville City Council, Coatesville Area Senior High School Air Force Junior Reserve Office Training Corps (AFJROTC), V.F.W. Post 287, and other local veteran and volunteer groups. A short ceremony will commence, followed by the placing of flags and markers on veteran grave sites.
The Old Evergreen Cemetery was originally constructed during a time when segregation was still prominent in the United States and thus contains grave sites solely of African Americans, many of whom belonged to the Hayti community of Valley Township (Coatesville). It was filled to capacity in the 1960s prior to the founding of the New Evergreen Cemetery adjacent extension. Ownership of the cemetery has remained ambiguous over decades and thus gone abandoned and unattended, except by a single family who has descendants interred on-site and volunteers its time to care for the grounds.
Ceremonies and Speakers: Remarks will begin at 1:00 PM with a brief introduction and welcome by Recorder of Deeds Chris Pielli followed by the Presentation of Colors by the Coatesville Area High School AFJROTC PA-771 Cadets and the singing of the national anthem a cappella by professional vocalist & Chester County Recorder of Deeds’ Special Projects Coordinator Kim Bydlon. There will then be a wreath-laying ceremony by Chester County Prothonotary Debbie Bookman and family member(s) of interred veterans followed by Taps performed by Coatesville V.F.W. Post 287 Chaplain Bob McGonigle. Finally, short speeches from county and state-elected officials will precede the placing of flags and markers on roughly 40 veteran gravesites by participants.