Wednesday, November 3, 2004

Medal of Honor graves get special markers

Seven national heroes lie at Spring Grove

By Cliff Radel
Enquirer staff writer

Jack McAfee Jr. polishes one of the seven Medal of Honor markers that will be placed at Spring Grove Cemetery. This one is for George A. Loyd, a Civil War soldier.
WINTON PLACE - For now, seven oval grave markers chiseled from black Vermont granite stand like solemn soldiers. Shined and polished. At attention.

Come Thursday, these seven sentinels will each take its place in Spring Grove Cemetery, standing watch over the final resting places of seven recipients of the Medal of Honor.

"There are no other oval markers in the grove," said Tom Smith, executive vice president of the cemetery where 210,000 souls have been laid to rest.

"But we wanted to do something special," he said. "It's only right that we make an exception to honor these heroes."

Consider how seldom the Medal of Honor has been presented. Since the Revolutionary War, 41 million Americans have served in the armed forces. Only 3,459 of them have received the nation's highest award for valor.

Consider as well how long some of these graves have gone unrecognized. As first reported in the Enquirer on July 24, five of the seven graves have never contained any reference to the Medal of Honor: the graves of Civil War veterans John Brown, John Henry Dorman, Manning Ferguson Force, George A. Loyd and John P. Murphy.

That will change Thursday.

Weather permitting, Jack McAfee Jr., Spring Grove's manager of burial services, said, "We'll take the markers to their correct grave sites, center them, then use a spade like a cookie cutter to outline the marker. We'll remove the sod and some dirt underneath, add some sand and then lower the stone."

The marker's highly polished face will be flush with the ground.

Visitors will be able to read the soldier's name, his rank, and the date the action took place that led to him receiving the honor. Two semicircles, etched in the granite, will read: "The United States of America" and "Congressional Medal of Honor."

The Spring Grove graves of two other Medal of Honor recipients, Philip Kennedy, a veteran of the Indian Wars of 1876-77, and Spanish-American War veteran Bruno Wende, also will receive matching markers.

The oval markers are a result of the efforts of Ray Albert and his daughter, Roxanne Albert Macioci, tree farmers and Medal of Honor historians from Amanda, Ohio.

Earlier this year, they tried for four months to persuade Spring Grove to mark the five Civil War veterans' plots.

Cemetery employees declined.

They cited Spring Grove's ban on more than one marker per grave.

When the Enquirer contacted Smith in July, he made an exception for Medal of Honor recipients. Smith also arranged for the special oval markers to be made - with Spring Grove picking up the tab.

The cemetery also is footing the bill for a brochure listing the locations of the seven Medal of Honor markers, as well as brief histories of the medal and the Spring Grove recipients. The brochure will be available by the end of this month.

John P. Murphy's oval marker will be installed just in time for a Nov. 14 tribute at the cemetery. Members of the Avon-Miami Masonic Lodge - Murphy belonged when it was known as the Avon Lodge - and 20 Civil War re-enactors will honor the heroics of an 18-year-old private. At the bloodbath known as the Battle of Antietam, Md., Murphy suffered a musket wound to his left leg as he rushed into the enemy line and captured a Confederate battle flag. For this brave act, he received the Medal of Honor.

"He was the only Mason from Hamilton County to receive the Medal of Honor," said Frank Saresky, one of two lodge members organizing the Nov. 14 event.

He also had never been honored properly by the Masonic order as being a Civil War hero, said the tribute's other organizer, Jerry Stemmer.

"He should have been honored way back when," Stemmer said. "But we're doing it now because it's never too late to pay tribute to someone who risked everything to keep us free."


Ohio provisional ballots may decide presidential election
Voters repeal amendment on gay rights
Ohio Supreme Court: GOP's justices appear to be buttressing majority
Voinovich has no trouble winning 2nd Senate term
Sycamore levy passes; four others fail
Kerry effort falls short in Ohio
Ohio Republicans aim to maintain grip in House, Senate
Ohio election briefs
Ohio Issue 1 passes
Turnout heavy in suburbs
MU students hit the polls
Cincinnati school levy passes
Hospital tax leading despite opposition
Clermont County: Republicans remain choice in early count
Clermont County tax issues: Long lines delay counting
Fairfield levy passes
Butler commission: All incumbents being returned
Butler levies: Support strong for health, social care funding
Butler County Sheriff: Jones likely successor to Gabbard
Heavy turnout, long lines delay vote count
Kings levy passes by slim margin
Indiana governor: Daniels prevails after tough, costly slugfest
Ballot misprint may affect Ind. school board race

Alexandria: Voters stick with City Council's six incumbents
Bellevue City Council: Two incumbents losing seats with 4 of 5 precincts counted
Covington: Sanders and Stricker joining City Commission
Campbell County: Ward holds on to retain seat on Circuit Court
Florence City Council: One newcomer, five incumbents win seats
Independence: Four who opposed insurance tax win
Newport: Mayor, all four on council will be keeping their seats
Suburban schools: Campbell, other area boards get fresh faces
Villa Hills, Taylor Mill: Taxes to fix, replace city streets rejected
Urban schools: Newcomer ousts incumbent, snags Newport board seat
N. Ky. election briefs
Popular president dominates Kentucky
Ky. Senate: Bunning wins - but race was close
Ky. House: This time around, Davis prevails
Issue One: Kentucky overwhelmingly says yes to no-gay-marriage
State's determined voters brave long lines, waits, rain
23rd Senate District: Westwood survives challenge by Groob
Ex-Gov. Carroll wins Frankfort seat
State Senate: Republican Thayer wins a full term in new seat
67th House District: Keene's win preserves spot for Democrats

Shelter director traveled from needing to helping
Help Habitat by hiring yard rakers
Father inspired mission journey
Cone throw may bring legal action
Police dogs could get TV time at competition
Harrison man charged in auto fatals
Exhibit to spotlight 350 years of Judaism in America
Medal of Honor graves get special markers
Local news briefs
Neighbors news briefs

Good Things Happening

Gay Weber designed jet engines for GE

Time of change in Crestview Hills
Waltz or swing, timid students learn to let go
Florence Freedom has a deal
$545,000 grant to bolster Ky. health-care work force
N. Ky. news briefs
Jewelry gone after autopsy of corpse
N.Ky. schools' education guide available online
Murder counts filed in wreck that killed 2