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SEE HOW: North Florida group on a mission to honor veterans by identifying unmarked graves

Posted at 5:02 PM, May 09, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-09 17:02:39-04
  • Historic Cemetery Preservation of North Florida will install grave markers for 15 former unmarked veterans Saturday, May 11.
  • Ahead of the service, the team explain the work involved to bring these pieces of history to light.
  • Watch the video to see their process and why their mission is so important.


Groups have been working diligently to identify veterans in unmarked graves.

But what does that process look like? Finding out about the many steps involved to complete this important task.

Honoring veterans and their families through research, time, and dedication.

"Instead of a just piece of grass there, they'll be a marker that says this man was a soldier," said Kelly Crocker, President of the Historic Cemetery Preservation of North Florida.

The organization does this by identifying unmarked graves of veterans and law enforcement officers

"Our personal responsibility to find these people and get them a proper marker to be remembered," said Mark R Bess, Project Manager of the Historic Cemetery Preservation of North Florida.

Building on research from other groups, it's a process that takes hours and hours of research

"What we're looking for is the death location, and burial location," said Crocker, explaining the mission when they dig through documents.

"Physical documents, we look at bound documents, we look at microfilm documents, and digitized documents," said Crocker.

Last year, they managed to identify 26 graves.

While they have many success stories, Crocker said it is difficult when they cannot find a name.

"It weighs on us, I have lists, I have lists of veterans that I have partial information on," said Crocker.

Crocker said every so often he will try to resolve those names.

However, Crocker said every day it is getting easier to find information as more becomes available online.

Bess said they are always keep a forward-thinking focus because there's always more to find.

"Okay, one down, what's the next one," said Bess, explaining his thought process.

15 unmarked veterans will receive grave markers this Saturday May 11, starting at 9:30AM, at the Roseland Cemetery of Monticello. According to Crocker, The City of Monticello provided records so they could mark these graves.