If you walked through Evergreen Cemetery this year, you might have noticed a lot of new military markers/flag holders. They were placed on the graves of Alpena's Civil War veterans to honor them on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of that war. Marking the gravesite of veterans is a custom dating back to the Revolutionary War as a means to recognize their sacrifice to our nation. The markers identify the grave of a military member and are also a sturdy post to hold a small American flag to prevent it from touching the ground.
As a Vietnam era veteran and the father of an active duty Air Force member, I am proud to see this commitment to honor those who served our country.
Sadly, it has come to my attention that about seven of those Civil War markers have been stolen. What could possibly be the reason of this despicable deed? A few dollars worth of metal or a "trophy" are certainly no justification. And yes: it is stealing, and it is punishable under the law. Desecrating these graves should outrage not only veterans, but all of us. This is thoughtlessness, indifference, a non-caring attitude toward our service men and women and their families, who gave so much. It is with a heavy heart that I write this letter to make the public aware of these facts. In the future, when you walk Evergreen Cemetery and see our hero's graves:
Look, take notice, and reflect on all that these markers represent - and protect them if necessary.
Petty Officer 2nd Class (SS)
U.S. Navy Veteran