Memorial Day dedication ceremony held on Air Station

29 May 2009 | Pfc. Kel Clark

The Air Station held a re-dedication ceremony to celebrate the renovation of the de Treville Lawrence Cemetery May 22 across from the de Treville House military hotel.

“This was a celebration and re-dedication of one of Beaufort’s own heroes, Major John LaBoularderie de Treville,” said retired Army Maj. Robert Ellis de Treville. “We are here to honor him as a key building block of South Carolina history and to the nation.”

The ceremony began with a welcome and purpose of the dedication, followed by introductions of the speakers and descendants of some of the fallen veterans. There was also a history of the South Carolina National Guard, Beaufort and a link to Maj. LaBoularderie de Treville. The guest speaker of the ceremony was Gerhard Spieler, a Beaufort resident known for his dedication in the studying and sharing Beaufort’s history.

John de Treville in the American Revolution was in the Order Book of Capt. Francis Marion, Nov. 3, 1775, which noted, ‘Ordered that a man from each company, with a sergeant, do go under inspection of Cadet de Treville to cut palmetto trees for the service of the country,’ according to Spieler. The logs were to reinforce the walls of Fort Johnson in the harbor of Charleston. The task was performed well and later the same task was done for the new fort built on Sullivan's Island, later to be known as Fort Moultrie.

On June 28, 1776, a British fleet was repulsed in an attack on Charleston. Their cannons were absorbed or deflected by the palmetto logs. The palmetto tree thus gained its place on the state flag of South Carolina.

“During the attack, de Treville led the destruction of the opposing fort, and he did no more than his duty and rather deserves praise than censure for his conduct on this occasion,” Spieler said.

The Army National Guard hosted a reception after the ceremony and used a Revolutionary War cannon, called the “Two Pounder” during the ceremony.

At the ceremony, there was a 220-pound grave marker brought to display de Treville’s burial site. This was the first headstone for the site in more than 200 years.

“I am a daughter of a fallen veteran, so any chance I get to honor our service members, past or present, I will be there,” said Shannon Erickson, a Beaufort resident. “This dedication seemed the perfect opportunity to point out the blending of our community and our past heroes.

“Seeing the past and the present connect is an exceptional moment, and they don’t come around very often. I’m honored to have been there to witness it,” Erickson continued. “I was very excited and blessed to been a part of it.”