Memorial Day Weekend, 2022
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Memorial Day Weekend, 2022

Memorial Day Weekend, 2022

Photo: Nadia K. Orton, May 27, 2022. All rights reserved.

On Friday, May 27, 2022, we continued our annual tradition of placing flags at the graves of the military veterans who rest in Oak Lawn Cemetery. It was a special year for us, as we were able to finally honor our ancestor, CPL William Parks of the 135th Regiment, U. S. Colored Infantry. In 2017, we’d found his gravestone dirty, and half buried in the ground. We contacted a local monument company to reset the stone, and subsequently cleaned it with water and D/2. Now it looks amazing! We also cleaned two older, pre-1900 era headstones, and one larger obelisk monument, that of a family patriarch from Edgecombe County, North Carolina. Today we noticed that we seem to have inspired a trend, as some of the veterans’ gravestones, pre-1900 era markers, and obelisk monuments in Oak Lawn had been cleaned in the same manner used for William Parks’ grave, sometime after we posted about our ancestor on March 25th.

Having found all known veterans that rest in Oak Lawn between 2017 and 2021, we only placed flags at the graves of veterans with extant gravestones, specifically those without any family decorations or flowers. There are many other previously undocumented veterans buried in Oak Lawn, whose stories will be brought to light in the coming year.


Nadia Orton

Professional genealogist and public historian. Graduate of Duke University. President of the Sacred Grounds Project, Inc. Studying historic African American cemeteries and communities.

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