Locals honor fallen heroes at first-ever Veteran’s Day ceremony at historical black cemetery

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AUGUSTA, G.A (WJBF) – The Augusta Chapter of The Military Order of Purple Heart hosted the first-ever veterans’ ceremony to take place at the Summerville Fitten St. Cemetery

“I don’t think that we honor our men like we should.”

Sameera Thurmond is a cousin to the late Sergeant Ira W. Claibourne. He and Staff Sergeant Joseph Nathaniel Rogers, both Bronze heart recipients, after serving in World War II. They both received special recognition Thursday afternoon.

“Nobody who was willing to give up their life or faced with having to give up their life should be ignored or forgotten,’ said Thurmond.

Veterans Day usually means honoring those heroes who are still living, but Thursday’s ceremony was about celebrating those fallen heroes.

“We’re taking the opportunity to honor two military veterans in particular, because we do not want to lose their stories,” said local historian Joyce Law.

The Augusta Chapter of The Military Order of Purple Heart hosted the first-ever veteran’s ceremony to take place at the Summerville Fitten St. Cemetery. The 3.12 acres of land are made up of nearly 50 fallen veterans.

“And they each have incredible stories, and their stories range from the Spanish American War to the Vietnam era,” said Law.

While the family of Sgt Claibourne Sr. was present, Staff sergeant Nathaniel Rogers was not.

“It’s very interesting that he’s not remembered even though so many of his family members lived here in the neighborhood, he’s not remembered. So we’re still working on identifying,” said Law.

Law says many of Staff Sergeant Roger’s family moved away during the great migration.


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