Register  |  

Legionnaire expands memorial project


Steve Adams does documentation work on a grave. (Photo via Linda Adams)

An Oregon Legionnaire has taken to heart the Legion’s call to gather information on memorials, and has expanded it to include those they honor.

Steve Adams, commander of both Post 10 in Albany and District 3, heard discussion at the 2016 department convention about The American Legion’s new database and the need to document World War I memorials across the country. That put him in mind of something his father, a longtime Legionnaire, had told him as a child. “He said to never forget World War I veterans,” Adams says, “as they were the founders of The American Legion and fought for benefits for themselves and future veterans … I promised him I would never forget.”

With that, Adams determined to go beyond memorials, and document all World War I veterans’ graves in his area. While hunting those, he found the graves of Civil War and Spanish-American War veterans. Eventually, with the encouragement of Post 10 members, he expanded his search to include the graves of all veterans. And his fellow Legion Family members are helping in the search, as well as people in the community.

His county has no comprehensive list of veterans’ gravesites, so much of this territory is being charted for the first time. Over 100 sites from World War I alone, including several charter members of Post 10, have been located. The plan is for the Legion and other veterans groups to decorate the graves for holidays and have the information available to others.

Adams has challenged other districts and posts in Oregon to follow his lead, and several are. He says what he personally gets from the project is “the satisfaction that I am doing what I can to honor a promise I made to my father. What keeps me going is to see this project to its end, and that is when all veterans’ graves in my area have been identified.”