“The bugles were blowing taps today,

“Over a wind swept hill,

“And they said a prayer where a soldier lay

“In a spot serenely still;

“And we saw the country’s colors wave

“Over a hero’s honored grave.”

The rhythmic lines were penned for a poem 80 years ago by Dennis R. Smith, a legendary staff member of The Canton Repository. The title of his front-page collection of stanzas, published in the newspaper on May 30 eight decades ago, was “Memorial Day – 1941.”

The story accompanying the poem traced the history of the holiday back to 1868, when respect first formally was paid to soldiers who gave their lives in the Civil War.

And a photograph published in the news package in 1941 showed Raymond Edleman, 94, one of Canton’s two surviving veterans of the Civil War, standing over a flag-decorated grave in the Civil War soldier section of West Lawn Cemetery in Canton.