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  • Ceremony at historic Jacksonville cemetery to honor World War I vets

    Monday marks 100 years since the beginning of The Great War; 72 veterans are buried in Jacksonville
  • JACKSONVILLE —
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    • If you go
      What: Ceremony to honor WWI veterans interred at the Historic Jacksonville Cemetery
      Why: To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the war's beginning
      When: 10 a.m. Monday, July 28
      Of note: ...
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      If you go
      What: Ceremony to honor WWI veterans interred at the Historic Jacksonville Cemetery

      Why: To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the war's beginning

      When: 10 a.m. Monday, July 28

      Of note: Pastor Richard Evans of the First Presbyterian Church will give opening and closing prayers. Bagpiper Bob Budesa will play before the program begins and during the ceremony
  • JACKSONVILLE —
    A roll call of 72 World War I veterans, from Willis Applegate to Francis Winn, who are interred at Jacksonville's Historic Cemetery — and one who is buried in France — will ring through the hills during a 10 a.m. ceremony Monday to remember the beginning of that conflict 100 years ago.
    "There's a good chance there are more (buried here). We just don't know about them," said Dirk Siedlecki, president of Friends of Jacksonville's Historic Cemetery.
    "It's a nice way to remember our veterans and those who lost their lives during the war," said Siedlecki.
    Some of the veterans have military markers, while the service of others is noted on family markers or in cemetery records.
    After the roll call, a volley of three rounds will be fired in salute, followed by the playing of Taps. There will also be poetry readings, prayers and bagpipe music.
    World War I began July 28, 1914, following the assassination of Austrian Archduke Ferdinand in Serbia. It ended on Nov. 11, 1918. The United States didn't enter the conflict until January 1917. (Dates have been corrected.) Casualty estimates say that 7 million civilians and 10 million military personnel died in the war, which saw 70 million in uniform.
    Three of the veterans buried at the cemetery died while in service to their country.
    "All the rest died afterwards. It's quite a bit from a small community," said Siedlecki.
    Private Oscar F. Collings was in Company A, 160th Infantry. He died in Nesvres, France, on Oct. 7, 1918, from pneumonia.
    James M. Beery was with a machine gun company in the 308th Infantry of the 77th Division of the American Expeditionary Force. He died from a wound suffered in the Argonne Forest of France on Oct. 18, 1918.
    Both Collings' and Beery's remains were interred in the cemetery in 1921. Veterans Edward and Edwin Beery, twins and brothers of James, are also buried in the cemetery.
    Marine Private France W. Winn died from pneumonia following scarlet fever at Quantico, Va., on Jan. 13, 1918. He served with the 79th Company, Sixth Regiment.
    Sgt. Turner Neil served in the trenches and hospital tents as a medic for the 363rd Field Hospital Company, 91st Division. He died of bronchial pneumonia at Mesves, France. He is buried in the St. Mihiel American Cemetery, Thiaucourt, France.
    Neil's name is inscribed on the family monument in the Odd Fellows section of the cemetery. His grandfather, William M. Turner, was editor of the Jacksonville Sentinel.
    Laura Cameron, who served as a nurse during the war, is the only female veteran. She is buried in the same family plot with Lloyd Cameron, but their relationship is unknown.
    Harley and Bruce Fleming were brothers, as were Hugh and Fred Combest, who are buried next to each other. Robert and Harry Baker are buried in the same family plot, but their relationship is unknown. Henry and Luther Gober are related, as are Lucius and Edward Lull, but the relationships aren't shown in cemetery records.
    Three poems will be read. They include "In Flanders Field," by Canadian Lt. Col. John McCrae, "Dulce et Decorum Est" by Wilfred Owen and "For the Fallen" by Laurence Binyon.
    "I'll talk about why we are there and a little about World War I, how many countries were involved and the loss of life, and when the U.S. entered the war," said Siedlecki.
    Pastor Richard Evans of the First Presbyterian Church will give opening and closing prayers. Bagpiper Bob Budesa will play before the program begins and during the ceremony.
    Tony Boom is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Reach him at tboomwriter@gmail.com.
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