This note from Dave Perry of the Gillespie Cemetery Veterans Project seemed appropriate to share in this period between Veterans Day and Thanksgiving:
Four years ago, the Gillespie Cemetery board realized there were multiple Veteran graves in the cemetery. The cemetery has Veterans that served in the Oregon Territorial Militia, the Civil War, WWI, WWII, Korean War and Vietnam.
We have Board members who are interested in history and genealogy who helped immensely identifying burials with military service. A review of obituaries, Find A Grave records, credible family historical records and other resources enabled the Cemetery to identify burials with military service.
We initially began to mark those graves with flags that had military or identification of their service on the grave stone. Each year research revealed additional Veterans that were honored.
Two years ago a compilation of Veterans was made, put in picture frames and placed on a red, white & blue wooden easel, draped with celebratory bunting. The compilation included the Veterans’ name, branch of service and conflict in which they served if appropriate. Last year we added ‘Special Honoree’s’ which identified a ‘Rosie the Riveter’ and a person that built ‘Liberty Ships’ at the Kaiser Shipyard in Vancouver, Washington during WWII. The easel is placed under a tree near the Cemetery parking lot during Memorial Day weekend and removed when the flags are picked up from the graves. The flags are saved and used again the following year and the compilation is updated as burials are added. We initially used flags with 24” staff but located on line ‘cemetery flags’ with a 30” staff to keep the flags from touching the ground.
The project has been very successful and resulted many positive comments. Additional information regarding burials in the cemetery has been received from visitors and families which added to cemetery records.–Dave Perry
The Gillespie Veterans Cemetery Project found a way to show thanks to both veterans and their helpers from the past. What projects, places do you want to show thanks for this year? The Resource Assistance for Rural Environments (RARE) program which provides executive directors to our smaller Main Street communities; the Oregon Historic Theater Assessment and soon to be fifty-year old National Historic Preservation Act among many more top our list!