The keeper of the family tree

He called himself “the keeper of the family tree.”

This veteran also worked tirelessly to honor other veterans in the serene little place known simply as the Lushton Cemetery.

We were informed Wayne McGregor, 89, passed away. His funeral was to be held shortly – with a private family burial fittingly at his beloved cemetery in rural York County.

Wayne was just a junior at York High School when he was drafted into the U.S. Army. He served in the Pacific during World War II and in 1949 returned home from the war.

He lived in Lincoln, but spent a lot of time at the quiet place where the historic statute of a Civil War soldier continues to stand.

His mother, father and brothers are already buried there.

While visiting graves, the history buff took notice of how many veteran plots exist there. He decided to beautify this area in a way that would honor their sacrifices.

“I got an idea to put a bench there first,” Wayne said of the section of the cemetery that has come to be known as the Veterans’ Square, in a 2008 York News-Times story.

Next, he added a stone in honor of the second war, his war. The World War II monument stands tall and includes a brass plaque reading, “This memorial is in honor of all the World War II veterans who were involved in the fight for the freedom of America and the free world.”

“Whether they fought in the Pacific or European theater, they faced a resolute and often brutal enemy; yet, they possessed the inner strength and courage that kept them going on the beaches at Normandy, in the deserts of North Africa and on the islands of the South Pacific,” Wayne said in that earlier interview. “The actions of those who were called to duty were probably best described by the words of Admiral Nimitz, ‘Uncommon valor was a common virtue.’”

The bench, inscribed “In Memory of Veterans of All Wars,” and the World War II monument were admirable – but Wayne didn’t stop there. With the goal of honoring veterans of all wars, he decided to place stones in a square surrounding the statue, one for each conflict in which the United States of America has fought.

As written in the York News-Times, “McGregor’s memorial to America’s fighting men and women is quite a sight – a soldier standing guard over his comrades. One man’s dream to honor the sacrifice of all who have been placed in harm’s way.”

So today, Wayne’s body will be placed in the spot he held so dear and so fervently cared for . . . in the place where he worked so hard to make sure veterans are not forgotten and honored in a way they deserved.

Now he, too, is remembered – and honored in a way he deserved.

Wayne called himself the keeper of the family tree. And so he was – the keeper of an extended family tree with many branches. The leaves of that tree are the stories of so many, as thousands have believed in defending our nation and our freedoms.


Thanks for reading this article. content is free and never behind a paywall.
We believe in trustworthy, local journalism that is accessible to everyone.