Project aims to mark unmarked veterans graves - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Project aims to mark unmarked veterans graves

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It's shocking that after dying for their country some veterans are buried in unmarked graves, but it's something that happens right here in Eastern Iowa.

A new project aims to recognize each unmarked veterans grave in Linn County.

The idea came after it was discovered a WWII veterans grave was left unmarked for more than 70 years at Cedar Memorial Park Cemetery in Cedar Rapids.

"These two ladies came in they had been doing some research on purple heart recipients and veterans and they came across this fellow named Leonard Kelly so they came here to try to find him and they couldn't find his grave," said Jim Swain, Family Service Counselor at Cedar Memorial.

Discovering Kelly's grave had been left unmarked, the ladies decided to change that, he now has the marked grave he so deserves.

The incident prompted the Veterans Memorialization Project of Linn County which will kick off on Memorial Day.

Between six and seven thousand veterans are buried at Cedar Memorial and finding and marking just one unmarked veterans grave was simply not enough.

The new effort is working to mark every unmarked honorably discharged veterans grave in Linn County, who have  been buried at least ten years.

"We hope to hit every cemetery in Linn County for those veterans who deserve having their graves marked," said Swain.

Graves are sometimes left unmarked due to lack of family or lack of the finances to properly mark them.

"It could be a few hundred dollars for the base that's required or the setting that's required," Swain told us.

The hope is that those just like Leonard Kelly can receive the marking and recognition they deserve.

"It's all about the veterans, men and woman that have served this county deserve their flag and they certainly deserve to be memorialized in their burial place," said Swain.

The Cedar Valley Detachment 99 of the Marines Corps League, Linn County Veterans Affairs Office and Cedar Memorial Park Cemetery are leading the project.

If you would like to contribute to the effort, you can make a donation at the Cedar Memorial Park Cemetery.

Envelopes will be available at Cedar Memorial, check can be made payable to The Marines Corps League with "VMP" written on the memo line, "VMP" stands for the Veterans Memorialization Project.

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