JACKSONVILLE, Ore. – 113 years after being killed in the Philippines, during the Spanish-American War, a Jacksonville soldier now has the grave marker he never had before.
At a somber ceremony in the Historic Jacksonville Cemetery on Wednesday, the official U.S. military marker was dedicated, along with another marker that researchers did not expect to receive. With the sound of lone bagpiper Bob Budesa playing “Amazing Grace”, a small crowd gathered at the Historic Jacksonville Cemetery to commemorate the placement of this new, old-style military grave marker.
“His face was known to his loved ones, and yet now his name lives on for generations to come,” said Pastor Richard Evans of the Jacksonville Presbyterian Church.
This new marker is for Hayes Benjamin Taylor, who was killed in battle in the Philippines in 1899. His body came home almost a year later and was buried in this family plot in 1900. But it never had a marker of any kind. His parents never had a marker either, but a mistake in Hayes’ first marker led the V.A. to make a new one. The first one was re-made into a marker for his parents.
This is not the only unmarked military grave in the Jacksonville cemetery. Dirk Siedlecki, with the Friends of Jacksonville Cemetery, said there are efforts being made right now to try and get markers for many others. But changes in policy from the Veterans Administration sometimes makes that more difficult.
“The rule now is that to request a military marker it has to come from next-of-kin. And when you’re talking about, as in this situation, Spanish-American war, or Civil War; even in some cases World War One, and trying to find the next of kin to make that application, is extremely difficult,” explained Dirk Siedlecki. “But, we’re gonna do our best!”
Military markers are provided free of charge to deceased veterans by the Veterans Administration.