Archive for Thursday, November 16, 2017

Letter to the editor: Failing our veterans

November 16, 2017


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.


Ken Lassman 4 months ago

Kerry, Have you started a site where folks, including yourself, can post this information? For instance do the city cemeteries keep track of who was a veteran or a veteran who died in service to their country? It would be great to start either a web page or facebook page where this information was posted or could be posted by families whose chose to participate. I don't know if such information requires permission from the family to be publicly posted or not, and whether the information can be posted if there is no family to be contacted....

Ila Andersen Russell 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Thanks for the suggestion! I will work with our Post members to get one started - should have thought of that myself! Thanks!

Ila Andersen Russell 4 months ago

I totally disagree with the poster's comments. I have been involved with the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 852 for over 40 years. I have assisted in putting flags at Memorial Park on the graves for our Veterans since the day I became a member. Putting up the flags is not a one day process. We keep a list of names of those that have been past members,we put flags on all the Veteran's graves - not just our past Post members, THAT WE KNOW ABOUT . If the original poster has a Veteran there - he/she needs to contact us so we can make sure he/she gets the appropriate flag on their grave.

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