Posted By Norman Gasbarro on November 18, 2010
On a grassy bank just off Specktown Road in Lykens Township, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, is the Lykens Township Veterans Monument – which also could be called the first Gratz Area Veterans Monument since its erection was sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Diamond Jubilee Post #2315, Gratz, Pennsylvania and was unveiled about four years before the one in the Borough of Gratz. The physical location of the monument is “Lykens Township” and the post office address is “Lykens,” although residents refer to it as “Lykens R.D.”
This monument sits on land that was once owned by Hannah [Rickert] Riegle, widow of Civil War soldier Harrison Riegle (1840-1899) who served in the 103rd Pennsylvania Infantry. After Harrison died, Hannah purchased the land and there she raised her youngest children. The farm and buildings remained in the family until 1977. Afterward, the southern part of the property was sold to the V.F.W. Harrison Riegle was a member of Kissinger Post #376 of the G.A.R. which regularly met in Gratz, but served Lykens Township as well. Therefore, he is honored on both monuments – and the land his wife purchased, partially with the widow’s pension she received from his military service, is land on which one of the monuments sits!
The inscription on the monument reads: This memorial erected and dedicated by V.F.W. Diamond Jubilee Post 215 to all veterans who have honorably served their country in time of war or peace. Dedicated May 27, 2001.
Rather than mounting the individual symbols for each war on the monument itself as was later done in Gratz, the V.F.W. chose to use the graveside flag holder with the standard symbols to reflect service in each of the nation’s wars. The G.A.R. star represents the Civil War.