by Timothy Rutt
Mountain View Cemetery will commemorate Memorial Day on May 27 by honoring Civil War veterans and with "living history" as presenters play the roles of Thaddeus Lowe, Native Americans, and the women who were left home as their men marched to war.
Historian Nick Smith said that the Sons of the Union Veterans and United Daughters of the Confederacy will be participating in decorating the Civil War graves in the cemetery. There will also be "living history" enactors of Lowe and other historical characters who are buried at Mountain View.
"In addition to the ceremony, we will be decorating graves with flags and flowers. We try to include at least some of the veterans of other wars, especially the section of Spanish American War veterans who are buried just inside the cemetery gate," Smith writes.
Over the last year, another researcher and I have been spending time locating and verifying more veteran graves at the cemetery. Long-term, the goal is to obtain markers for the ones currently unmarked. Sadly, a change in federal regulations a few years ago made it more difficult to get them marked, as the cemetery now needs to get a living descendant to sign off on the paperwork to get a veteran marker for an unmarked grave. If a family died out, or if descendants can’t be found, the grave can only be marked by raising funds privately. We managed that for one Civil War nurse, but would need to raise a LOT of money to handle the rest.
Smith writes that they now believe around 700 Civil War soldiers have been buried at Mountain View, and have located the graves of over 600 of them. "It’s been a challenge because of things like misspelled names," Smith writes. "Sometimes the headstone, cemetery records and obituary all spell a name differently, with the person’s military records having a fourth spelling. And that doesn’t even count the ones who changed their name, for one reason or another, or who went by a middle name or nickname."
The ceremony will begin at 2 PM Memorial Day, Monday, May 27 at Mountain View Cemetery, 2400 N. Fair Oaks Avenue.