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Bell Gets Headstone Replacement

In 2008, I found this headstone in Cold Spring, New York, broken and so flush with the earth that it was nearly covered with dirt and grass to make it an almost unmarked grave. With the permission of the cemetery and the approval of one of Bell's descendents, I applied to the government for a replacement marker (Free for Civil War veterans). As does anything with them, there was a long wait, but the marker eventually came. Then I got deployed and had to wait longer, but finally in June of 2010 I took the replacement marker and drove it to Cold Spring and did my first replacement.

The job was fairly easy. I had to dig down to get the broken piece of the original headstone that was under the earth out. I prepped the new hole with stone gravel instead of cement. Never use cement as it gives the marker no play and bound to snap again if bumped the slightest by say, a lawnmower. Once the headstone was level, I filled the hole with dirt and covered with grass seed.

I thoroughly loved doing this and wish I could do more to ensure future veterans are not forgotten. Unfortunately, the government changed their policy to make it harder for people to replace Civil War headstones. Their thought was you HAVE to be next of kin to the soldier, but in their infinite wisdom they did not think that some men simply did not have children, and most people are not detectives to track down generations of families. This needs to be changed so people like me can do the job willingly for no profit and ensure that these heroes are not forgotten.

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