Grafton National Cemetery
The Grafton National Cemetery is a final resting place for United States veterans who served anywhere from the Civil War to Vietnam. There are exceptions to being buried in the National cemetery. Besides being a Veteran, the spouse of the Veteran or their child that is not capable of living on their own are able to be buried next to the Veteran. It is located in Taylor County, West Virginia in a small town called Grafton. Grafton is located 25 miles south of Morgantown, West Virginia. Grafton is also one of the few places for there to be two National Cemeteries in the same place. The cemetery serves as the final resting place for 2,100 United States veterans. One of the most famous veterans buried at Grafton National Cemetery is Private Thornesberry Bailey Brown.
Backstory and Context
The Grafton National Cemetery is the final resting place for 2,100 United States veterans. The veterans buried in this cemetery fought in any conflict between the Civil War and the Vietnam War. The cemetery is the final resting place for 1,252 Union Soldiers. 613 veterans of the Civil War are buried in this cemetery as unknowns. The east and west sides of the cemetery provide a place for grave markers to represent the men lost at sea or whose remains were never recovered. A United States flag flies in the middle of the cemetery.
The most famous veteran buried in the Grafton National Cemetery is Private Thornesberry Bailey Brown. In 1903 Private Brown is said to be the first casualty for the Union in the Civil War. Private Brown served as a "Grafton Guard." When confronted by a Confederate soldier to halt, Brown replied, "no," and shot the Confederate soldier in the ear. The Confederate soldier then shot Brown in the heart.
From the cemetery being too full in 1961, Senator Byrd established the second National Cemetery in 1987. When the cemetery was completed Byrd then had a speech there on June 2, 1991. Many Veterans like from Vietnam are buried there and there are still more being buried there. The location of the second National Cemetery is located in Pruntytown Taylor County, West Virginia.
The Grafton National Cemetery offers events to the public in order to remember the lives of the veterans, as well as all United States veterans, who are buried in the cemetery. A particular event and tradition of the Grafton National Cemetery happens on Memorial Day and is known as "Flower Strewing Day." On this day a parade starts downtown at a resturaunt called Jerrys and goes all the way down to the cemetery where children place a flower on the grave of each veteran. There is also a service at the end where a person of importance in West Virginia speaks at the cemetery. Every West Virginia governor, except one, has spoken at this service.