ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO -Visitors to Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery will now notice monuments in the areas of the cemetery where flat grave markers are in the ground. The group, Meaningful Causes fought for years to have the monuments put in place. Five monuments were unveiled during a recent ceremony at Jefferson Barracks.
“So, when people drive by they at least see something. Often times they drive by one of these sections and don’t even realize there are graves here,” said Meaningful Causes spokesman Mike Bongner.
He said, “Now you’ll at least be able to see this memorial plaque and understand that there are graves here.”
Deborah Thomas is the founder of the group. Her father is buried at one of the flat makers. Bongner gave credit to Thomas for fighting for years for something to be done. Fellow Meaningful Causes member Carol Wood-Smith joined the effort because she never knew the flat markers existed.
“I come here and visit and I never noticed them,” she said.
Five granite monuments have been placed at Jefferson Barracks. Here is what is inscribed on each of the monuments:
In 1982, Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery adopted the use of flat granite markers to mark the gravesites of veterans, service members and family members. Jefferson Barracks became one of 78 VA National Cemeteries to provide a combination of flat markers and upright headstones. In 1987, pursuant to public law 99-576, Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery resumed the use of upright headstones in new burial sections while continuing to place flat markers in sections that were designated for their use (Sections BB, II, MM, NN, W, X and Y). Nine VA National Cemeteries use flat markers exclusively for gravesites and memorialization in their burial sections.
“To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan” President Abraham Lincoln.