Veterans Graves Get Much-Needed Attention

Greenwood Cemetery in New Bern, NC
Greenwood Cemetery (photo by New Bern Now)

The American Legion Post 539 is cleaning the graves located in Greenwood Cemetery.

A bit of backstory: Greenwood is a historically black cemetery in New Bern. It is overrun with weeds and does not receive consistent (or any) care.

Every year, flags and wreaths are placed in the National Cemetery to recognize veterans. This courtesy, honor, and recognition has not been bestowed upon the 43 veterans in Greenwood.

That changes today.

We have ordered special cleaning materials for the headstones. We have located and cataloged the 43 veterans and will be working through the week to ensure all are cleaned.

On Veterans Day, we will have a ceremony to honor their service and sacrifice.

A veteran is a veteran is a veteran and it’s my fervent belief that everyone should be treated as such. There must be no discrimination in how veterans are treated, as only one percent of the population ever answers the call to serve.

I am proud of this Post for seeing an area to honor and serve, and for standing up to do it.

Fun Fact: New Bern thought there were 6 black veterans buried in the cemetery who fought in the Civil War. There are actually 7. We’ll be updating state records to reflect that as well.

A special thank you to Mark Sandvigen for doing the heavy lifting on this project, the City of New Bern Parks and Recreation for clearing our request, the Craven County Veteran’s Council and countless veterans and citizens for providing support.

By Liz Hartman, Commander, American Legion Post #539