After placing 175 flags for veterans holidays and starting a project of cleaning veterans’ tombstones at Brush Prairie Cemetery, members of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Fort Vancouver Chapter, realized some veteran gravesites at the cemetery need proper tombstones.
Ruth Morgan, local D.A.R. flag committee chair, said they identified up to 11 veterans’ gravesites that need proper markers. Three of the 11 are possibly not buried at the Brush Prairie Cemetery, although unverified information points to them being located there.
Some of the 11 gravesites needing proper markers have only temporary grave markers, some that have been in place for multiple decades.
Chuck Lashley, American Veterans Post 16 commander, is assisting with the project. AmVets can order veteran grave markers through the Department of Veterans Affairs, which is crucial for the project as Morgan mentioned finding family contacts is not easy.
Morgan has not been able to locate family for three of the 11 veterans that they want to honor with proper tombstones.
“We stand for those who stood for us. … So we owe our freedoms to the veterans, and to have a veteran that’s been buried without honors or without a grave marker is not acceptable to us,” Lashley said. “All veterans are our brothers. Most of them we did not know. But we know about them, and we know what they did and what they stood for, and we want to see that they are properly respected and honored.”
The process of getting a permanent and proper tombstone for one Brush Prairie Cemetery veteran has already begun.
Lashley submitted an application with the VA for a veteran marker for George Albert Myers, whose grave site inspired Morgan’s project.
Every time Morgan goes to the cemetery, she said she has to unbury his temporary marker as it is always covered in tree debris and dirt.
“This is how the start of trying to get the graves marked happened because, for the first few times I placed flags, I didn’t have any idea where he was,” Morgan said of Myers’ gravesite. “I would just stick a flag over here because we knew he’s kind of over here. And so then my husband and I came out and kind of dug his marker out.”
When Myers has a permanent marker, not only will he be properly honored for the first time in decades, his gravesite will be easier to find in the cemetery, like when the D.A.R. places veteran flags on Veterans Day and Memorial Day.
Because enough information was known about Myers, an application could be submitted for him to the VA. Without enough information on the veteran in question, applications cannot be submitted.
For the rest of the veterans to receive permanent grave markers, Morgan relies on additional information from possible family members to submit an application for a marker.
People can email Morgan if they can provide more information about the veterans at D.A.R.honoringVetsBP@gmail.com.
She said she needs additional information for the following:
STARR, CLYDE MELVILLE
DUNN, CLEARVLE CECIL
COBURN, WILLIAM CLYDE
PIERCE, ALAN D.
The location of burial sites are unknown for:
HAUN, WILLIAM GORDON
ARNOLD, CHARLES HENRY
With plot maps, Morgan was able to pinpoint where Starr and Pierce are buried. Pierce had a temporary marker from 2022, but that was destroyed, Morgan stated in an email.
Haun, Smith and Arnold are believed to be buried at the Brush Prairie Cemetery, but Morgan added she is unable to verify that with the little information they have.
In providing information for the veterans, Morgan stated that branch of service; dates of service; any identification, such as service ID number; highest rank; whether they were a prisoner of war; and whether they were awarded any medals of valor, such as Purple heart, are all crucial pieces of information that would help getting permanent markers placed.
The D.A.R. was founded in 1890 and is a non-profit, non-political volunteer women’s service organization dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history and securing America’s future through better education for children, stated Morgan.
The Fort Vancouver Chapter has around 150 members and can be found online at fvdar.weebly.com.
The Brush Prairie Cemetery is located only off of the northbound lanes of Northeast 117th Avenue, across from Prairie High School.