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Donna McMaster, Published June 12 2010

We must honor every veteran

For a number of years, my cousin and I have headed out before Memorial Day laden with wreaths and flowers and flags to decorate the graves of parents, grandparents and even great-great grandparents in small country cemeteries, many of which no longer have active churches.

We talk about what we know of those who have gone before and the sad fact that we will probably be the last in our family to make the annual visit.

One year I spotted a grave marker for someone who, according to his stone, was killed in 1944 and “buried in France.” He had no decorations, no flags or wreaths, so I adopted him. No soldier who died for his country, and ours, should be left alone on Memorial Day. I now pack along a special wreath for someone I am not related to, never knew and never heard of until I found him.

I’ve done some research, aided by another cousin, and the grave marker I decorate belonged to someone who landed with his tank battalion in France on D-Day and, after his death, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross which, I’m told, is second only to the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Therefore, next year, when some of you prepare to visit local cemeteries to remember your dead, pack along a few extra flowers, wreaths and flags. Find a veteran, stop by the grave, think about the history and sacrifice of that person, and then show that some of us still remember what those veterans did and that we’re grateful.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every veteran buried in every cemetery was acknowledged?