Davenport volunteers place headstones on unmarked veteran’s graves
DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - Community volunteers, including those from the Davenport City Cemetery Partnership and the Excelon Militaries Actively Connected Quad Cities Chapter, installed foundations and headstones for veterans of the U.S. Civil War and Indian Wars on Saturday. The stones were placed on veterans graves that were previously unmarked at City Cemetery in West Davenport. Headstones were provided by the U.S. Veterans Administration.
“It’s the oldest cemetery in Scott County. We’re kind of playing catch up on cemetery maintenance and replacement of broken headstones and missing headstones and we’re really focusing on the veterans because we have contemporary accounts that there were 100 veterans buried in this cemetery in 1900, and we can only locate 80 of their graves right now so we know there were headstones here at one time,” says Kory Darnall, a volunteer with the Davenport City Cemetery.
For the volunteers, it’s a way to remember and honor those who served our country.
“For them to be in an unmarked grave is one of the most disrespectful things I think we can do. To at least mark their grave and honor their presence here is the minimum that we can do. It’s a very small sacrifice compared to what they did for us,” says Darnall.
About a dozen volunteers helped clean and install the graves. All say they volunteer to remember veteran’s lives and sacrifice.
“A lot of the folks that are buried here, no longer have families that are around or alive, so it’s kind of up to volunteers and people from the community to make sure that nobody’s forgotten and that the history stays alive. It’s respect and caring, you don’t want anyone to be forgotten. You wouldn’t want your loved ones to be forgotten. So we sure don’t want anyone else’s to be either,” says Natalie Woodhurst, a volunteer with the Davenport City Cemetery Partnership.
Jeffrey Bartz, a volunteer with Excelon Militaries Actively Connected, agrees.
“We need to know that they’re here and they need to know that they’re not forgotten. Whether or not they still have family in the area or not. They did serve their country, and we just need to make sure that that’s acknowledged, even if it’s just something as simple as planting a headstone for them. Stones are eternal. They’re not gonna wash away, and they may fade, but they’re still there. So that marker’s going to be a remembrance of them and the service that they gave to our country,” says Bartz.
The group holds clean-up events at least once a year. They are also repairing headstones that were damaged in last summer’s derecho. If you would like to get connected with the group, you can learn more on their Facebook page.
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