National Cemetery Veterans Day Photos: Find the Fallen
National Cemeteries and Veterans Day go hand-in-hand. Who do you know that is a Veteran? Do you have a plan to show gratitude for their service? One way to honor the memory of those who have served our country is to find the fallen in a national cemetery. Use the BillionGraves app to document their grave and have it tagged with a GPS location.
All of the graves at Arlington National Cemetery have been photographed with the BillionGraves app. That’s a remarkable 130,320 GPS tagged photos! But many headstones in other US national cemeteries have not been photographed and tagged with GPS links. It would be a beautiful way for you to honor our country’s Veterans. Simply download the BillionGraves app and click on “take pictures” to get started.
10 Ways to Honor Veterans this Veterans Day
- Take BillionGraves photos at a National Cemetery (instructions available at https://blog.billiongraves.com/2018/10/02/hosting-a-cemetery-service-project-in-8-easy-steps/ )
- Thank a Veteran for their service
- Ask Veterans about their service in the military and truly listen to their story
- Put a flag in your yard
- Visit Veterans at a Veterans hospital
- Take dinner to a Veteran
- Write a letter to someone currently serving in the military
- Call a Veteran family member
- Take a quiet moment to be thankful for Veterans and your freedom
- Teach a child what it means to be a Veteran
Veteran Bob Cheney, Navy Postal Clerk
My grandparents never forgot the day they received the news that their son, Bob, had been named Sailor of the Year. He was serving as a postal clerk aboard the Navy ship USS Arcadia. The year was 1963 and the letter of recognition stated, “There were several very deserving candidates and the competition was very keen, but he was the final choice for this honor.”
Bob had stepped up to take over mail delivery aboard the ship when the head postal clerk had become ill and had to be detached. Naval officers noted that Bob’s performance of duties during that period was “far above that expected for a man of his age and rank.”
Every sailor loved to get mail, but that wasn’t the only reason the tiny mailroom where Bob worked was usually jam-packed. Stopping by for a letter or package, sailors stayed to shoot the breeze and laugh with Bob, only moving on when others needed elbow room.
In the letter of recognition, the ship’s captain wrote, “It was the unanimous opinion of the board that by your willingness to go out of the way to be of service to others you showed the proper Arcadia ‘can do’ spirit. Your cheery disposition and willingness to undertake any task assigned helped to promote a high spirit of morale on board, a combination of your superior capabilities in your job, together with the high regard your Arcadia shipmates hold for you make you the choice as Arcadia Sailor of the Year.”
Just as my grandparents never forgot that message of good news, they never forgot the telegram that followed. “With concern, I regret to inform you that your son . . . is ill with the prognosis questionable as the result of cancer. His condition is reported to be poor. Your son was hospitalized in Frankfurt, Germany and will be air evacuated to the United States today. Be assured that he will receive the best possible care and treatment.”
Two months later shipmates held a memorial service aboard the Arcadia for Bob who had passed away in a hospital with his family by his side.
An older navy postal clerk who worked with Bob when they were in port near a stateside military base wrote to my grandparents, “Bob was a wonderful friend . . . He came to my house often, just to watch T.V. or dance with my daughter – sometimes just to sit around and feel at home. We all liked him very much and were so surprised to hear that he was gone. My wife cried when she read the letter to me over the phone. That was how close he was to us. Perhaps I shouldn’t write you this now and bring back memories, but we do want you to know that Bob was more than just a good boy, he was special, and our prayers go with him as he goes above.”
Nearly everyone has a Veteran friend or family member with a story that tugs at the heart-strings. Perhaps yours does too. This Veterans Day, let’s find the fallen. Let’s find them by documenting their gravestones.
136 United States National Cemeteries
The United States Veterans Administration maintains 136 national cemeteries for the internment of US Veterans in 40 states. Many of them still need to be documented with the BillionGraves app to be GPS tagged.
Taking photos in a military cemetery is so much faster and easier than in civilian cemeteries because gravestones are usually consistent in size and shape. They also face the same direction and have no inscriptions on the backside. And national cemeteries are well maintained so the ground is level, making walking easier. The grass is kept trimmed around the stones. There aren’t lots of extra floral arrangements on top or in front of the headstones. You could expect to be able to take up to 400 photos in an hour with the BillionGraves app in a national cemetery.
Some of America’s national cemeteries have had tens of thousands of images taken. Other cemeteries have less. Here are 5 national cemeteries that still need BillionGraves photographs.
Veterans Day at Marion National Cemetery
Black Rd., Center, Indiana (north of Indianapolis)
Veterans Day at Marietta National Cemetery
294-426 Washington Avenue Northeast, Marietta, Georgia
Veterans Day at Great Lakes National Cemetery
4200 Belford Rd., Holly, Michigan
Veterans Day at Long Island National Cemetery
2000 Wellwood Ave., Farmingdale, Suffolk, New York
Veterans Day at Philadelphia National Cemetery
6900 Limekiln Pike, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Below is a complete list of United States National Cemeteries. You can check to see if a national cemetery near you needs photos at https://billiongraves.com/adopt
A trip to a national cemetery to take photos with the BillionGraves app on Veterans Day would be a great project for families, Scout troops, church youth groups, and National Honor Societies. If you don’t live near a national cemetery you could photograph at one of your local cemeteries and focus on military graves. You can find them by looking for American flags posted on military markers.
Happy Veterans Day!
Cathy Wallace (guest blogger) and the BillionGraves team
136 United States National Cemeteries