Military honor services for U.S. Army Lt. Darrell Arlen Russel, a WWII and Prisoner of War (POW) camp survivor, was held at his unmarked gravesite on 22 November 2019 at 11 a.m. at the Greenview Memorial Gardens Cemetery, located at 3658 Old Chisholm Road, Florence, Ala., in the Garden of Memories section opposite the cemetery’s mausoleum.
The American Legion Post 31 Color Guard of Tuscumbia, the Patriot Riders and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 8640 of Sheffield, Ala., were co-participants
Lt. Russel, also known as Dr. Darrel A. Russel, noted local historian of northwest Alabama and founder of the Natchez Trace Genealogical Society, was also a mentor and friend when I arrived in Alabama 15 years ago to research my family heritage and links to the area. Listen to the reading of his diary on his day of capture, 22 November 1944, via the following YouTube link: https://youtu.be/T30VusDgMLY .
The added connection as a veteran and discovering that his final resting place since his demise in 2010 did not bear a military marker of his existence and service to the nation calls upon us all to be aware of the need to ensure that those who have served receive permanent recognition of national service to this nation, and proof of presence on this earth with a marker or headstone.
There are many similar cases of veterans resting in unmarked graves through northwest Alabama whose families may have been impacted by financial constraints; a veteran’s not sharing much about their service life, or a family’s lack of awareness, briefing and procedural guidance of how to secure military entitlements that are free of charge for service rendered to the nation; and easily resolved through Veterans Administration service officer assistance in Florence; hence, the heading “No One Forgotten – No One Unrecognized – No One Without a Marker.”
American Legion Post 31 Color Guard