Saturday, October 22, 2011

Lest We Forget: Remembering Sandusky County, Ohio's Veterans

CBS Sunday Morning
On Memorial Day 2010, CBS Sunday Morning featured the efforts of Wayne Van Doren and his family to place American flags beside the grave sites  of veterans in six Sandusky County cemeteries. From Revolutionary War soldiers to the highest ranking general killed in the Civil War, McPherson Cemetery in Clyde, Ohio, is the final resting place for nearly a thousand veterans. Wayne has meticulously mapped the location of each so that on every Memorial Day he and his family can continue their tradition of honoring those who have served in America's wars.

Wayne Van Doren 
Fremont, Ohio's Oakwood Cemetery
Courtesy of The News-Messenger
Wayne has extended his reach. He hopes to honor each veteran buried in Sandusky County, Ohio by placing an American flag beside each grave. Wayne stated that there are 64 cemeteries in Sandusky County where veterans are buried. Above is a picture of Wayne in Fremont's Oakwood Cemetery that appeared in the September 16th, 2011 issue of The News-Messenger.  Wayne has been walking Oakwood Cemetery all summer, attempting to locate all of the veterans' grave sites. It is one of the largest in the county. Sadly, in Oakwood alone, there are 357 veterans' graves that do not have bronze flag holders beside them. Flag holders and an American flag are issued to veterans' surviving family members when veterans die. Each flag holder has the emblem that identifies the war in which the veteran served.

After learning of my attempts to discover Sandusky County's African American Civil War soldiers, Wayne took photographs of their gravesites while walking Oakwood. Below is the photo he gave me of David J. Vance's tombstone. Others that Wayne shared with me are posted on the Hayes Presidential Center's Civil War Research page, where short sketches of each African American Civil War soldier appears. (With the help of Charles Weiker, we recently discovered the service of two additional soldiers.  Both have been added to the page.)
David J. Vance
Oakwood Cemetery, Fremont, Ohio

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