With Memorial Day just around the corner a volunteer based group is working to ensure that veterans buried at the ‘lost cemeteries’ on Fort Drum are getting the memorials they deserve.
The Public Works Environmental Division on Fort Drum, in partnership with the Fort Drum Leaders Program, placed granite memorial stones next to the graves of 10th Mountain Division veterans.
Two years ago the Public Works Environmental Division won the Army Center of Excellence Award. That award allowed for the group to receive grant money to repair many of the cemeteries on Fort Drum that were part of villages prior to the 1940 acquisition.
The cemeteries are rich in 10th Mountain Division, and Northern New York, history. According to Heather Wagner, the environmental educator for the public works department, the revitalization of these cemeteries is a way to honor and remember those who have served, and do still serve.
The volunteers from the Fort Drum Leaders Program consist of 10th Mountain Division veterans, army wives and Department of Defense employees that have set aside time to participate in the clean-up efforts and placing of memorial stones.
The granite memorial stones were cemented into the ground next to 10th Mountain Division veterans. According to Wagner, some of the original markers have been stolen or removed and that is why it is so important to use the grant money to clean and pay homage to those soldiers.
Wagner continued that if anyone who has a family member buried at any of the 13 ‘lost village’ cemeteries, and can identify them, they will place a marker by that veteran as well. Anyone with information can contact her office at 315-772-2150.
To learn more about the ‘lost village’ cemeteries, and to hear from veterans and Heather Wagner, watch the complete video story.