In Marshall, Texas, Legionnaires from Post 878 are assuring every veteran receives honors at his grave. The post now will present any area cemetery interested with a plaque honoring all soldiers laid to rest there. So far, they have issued six memorial plaques, and have several requests to fill.
Though popular, programs to place flags at veterans' graves often missed unmarked headstones or those without military honors, resulting in upset cemetery patrons and loved ones of the deceased. Legionnaire Charles McGriger said the post wanted to put a stop to that while still paying respect.
This is a particular problem in rural communities, McGriger said, because family members live far away and can't regularly tend to the graves.
The 18-by-24 inch plaques are emblazoned with the American flag and Legion emblem, and are prominently displayed at cemetery entrances. Committee members all wrote the wording they thought should appear on the plaque, then they added them all up and started "chopping them down," McGriger said.
The final text reads: "The George A Thompson American Legion Post 878 Marshall, Texas honors the memory of your outstanding courage and commitment in service to our country. May your soul march on in heaven as your body rests here in peace."
Public response has been positive.
"People call us on the phone and thank us for putting the plaques down. Now they don't worry about their soldiers not being honored at Veterans Days and Memorial Days," McGriger said.
The post is also working to help put families in touch with funeral homes when individual military plaques, headstones or footstones are missing, McGriger said.