To the editor:
Reviving the Veterans Day Parade in Lawrence is a good way to honor living veterans, but the citizenry of Douglas County is failing to honor its veterans who have died. I refer to the fact that an unknown number of graves of deceased local veterans go undecorated with small American flags on Memorial Day weekends. Unfortunately, this includes veterans who died during their service. I have observed this not only in small private cemeteries, but also in Oak Hill and Memorial Park cemeteries. The only organized effort seems to be placing flags on the graves in the areas reserved for veterans in cemeteries. The graves of veterans buried outside these areas are left to family or friends, if any remain, to provide flags.
Two years ago I contacted both the VFW and American Legion in Lawrence about this problem, but was informed that the designated veteran areas were their main concern. As a result, many graves across the city and county still remain undecorated and unhonored every year.
I am not trying to point a finger at anyone for this failure to properly honor deceased local veterans. It is a collective failure of everyone in the county, so it is something that should not be expected to be left up to one person or group.
Creating a list of all veteran graves in the county, which apparently does not exist, would be a start, but without some dedicated effort, many veteran graves will continue to go unhonored on Memorial Day.