In all the rush of music, food and people watching there was a ceremony in a quiet area of the Eastgate Mall Wednesday. Tucked into an edge of a vast expanse of asphalt is the Brainerd Mission Cemetery. It is the last visible evidence of a community that thrived in that area in the early 1800’s.
The Moravian missionaries came to bring education and religion to the Indians and the slaves. They won their trust and helped them to build a village that thrived. The school was a draw for many people from both near and far and the missionaries took in all that they could. This was a time of peace and prosperity for the people. When the European settlers started their move west in search of land the Indians were forced off their property and the story of the Trail of Tears tell their fate.
In the early 1930’s the daughters and Sons of the American Revolution saw the cemetery that remained as a symbol of the history of the area. The land was granted to the Nancy Ward Chapter, Chief John Ross Chapter, Judge David Campbell Chapter, Chickamauga Chapter and the Moccasin Bend Chapter of the DAR. The John Sevier Chapter of the SAR was also included. The chapters care for the grounds and help to educate the people of the community about the history of the Brainerd Mission.
Each year, on the second Wednesday in June, there is a ceremony where the American flag is replaced and the flags of the Eastern and Western bands of the Cherokee are recognized. The chapters gather with dignitaries and interested citizens to honor the nation and to recognize the the contribution of those who lay in their final resting place to our country.
Special guest was the Regent Elect for the State of Tennessee and member of the Judge David Campbell DAR Chapter, Susan Thomas.
The East Ridge High School ROTC began the ceremony and it finished with music from a Cherokee composer.
For more information on the DAR chapters and what they do, call 838-0870.