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Yesterday, I walked the grounds of historic Bloomfield Cemetery, in Bloomfield, NJ.   The cemetery is unknown by many, forgotten, where soldiers of the Revolutionary, Spanish American, Civil, and World Wars I and II reside in slumber together.

Others of note rest there as well.

One in particular is William Bradbury.

Let me tell you his story………..

In the 1860’s, Anna Warner was a best selling novelist.  She lived almost at the doorstep of West Point Military Academy, where rumors of impending war swirled.  She taught Bible studies to cadets, and often wondered if many would see their final days on the battlefield.

She wrote with her sister Susan……one novel in particular, “Say and Seal” captivated the country for a brief time.   Its popularity faded, except for one short passage.

A character recited a short poem at the bedside of a dying child in the story:  “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so”…………

These words brought the country to tears.  These words were recited in churches, on the battlefields, and in homes.

Enter William Bradbury….an accomplished composer of the time.  He had achieved fame with “Sweet Hour of Prayer,” “He Leadeth Me,” and “On Christ the Solid Rock.”

So moved by Anna’s poetry, he wrote music to her words.

The song echoed among soldiers in both uniforms; it became a powerful message of the time.

Now, many know Bradbury, but few remember Anna.

I paused at Bradbury’s grave yesterday; a woman stood before it, singing the entire song quietly.  I wonder if she knew of Anna.  A rose was lying on the ground several feet away from his stone.  I picked it up and placed it on the ledge.   The song Jesus Loves Me has personal meaning for me, as it is one I have often    sung with my own grandchild.

Today, a rose lingers on William’s grave, but it lingers for Anna as well.  Whoever shall read this blog, will remember you both.



(background information obtained from a webpage of Norma Lee Liles)P1100257P1100258P1100259P1100252