CLAY COUNTY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — A four year project called “No Veteran Without A Flag” is aiming to honor and identify every veteran buried in Clay County cemeteries.
The project is being conducted by Daughters of the American Revolution’s Eliza Rizley Stacey Chapter. The group is attempting to build a comprehensive database to not only identify veterans, but ensure a flag is placed on their grave to honor their service.
With some veterans serving as early as the Revolutionary War and others with outdated records, many plots have been overlooked. Data will be collected from across 115 cemeteries in Clay County and could potentially identify over 1000 veterans.
DAR Committee Chair Deborah Smith said this plan honors the ultimate sacrifice.
“We don’t want a single veteran to go without a flag,” Smith said. “It’s important because without our veterans, we wouldn’t have freedom. To us, it’s very important that they’re all honored.”
“No Veteran Without A Flag” is a part of “America 250”, a national DAR program honoring the United States’ 250th anniversary.
Daughters of the American Revolution is a national organization with 90 chapters in the state. Locally, the Eliza Rizley Stacey Chapter has done several projects for the Clay County community including headstone cleaning for veterans.
DAR member Leesa Nesty said this idea initiative came from knowing not every veteran is properly recognized at their final resting place.
“I’ve put flags on the graves of veterans before and it’s a very humbling experience. But, whenever we thought about the ones maybe left our, we just thought that was so sad that were some people give their all and maybe didn’t have a flag,” Nesty said. “We knew something had to be done.”
Members plan to create a data base through various forms of research including the Clay County Veteran’s Office, the Clay County Genealogical Society and Clay County Historical Society.
Upon completion in 2026, the list will be publicly accessible. However, members are unsure where it will be kept as of right now.
“We foresee this going beyond a list, but possibly DVD’s or somewhere else accessible for people to continuously update,” Nesty said.
Another possible idea is finding a way to honor veterans who have served from Clay County, but may be buried elsewhere.
“Freedom is not free. It requires sacrifice,” Smith said. “Above all, we want people to know who fought for our freedom and preserve history.”
Now, the DAR needs the public’s help to identify graves to ensure accuracy.
- Veteran’s name
- Branch of service
- Burial location
- And other prompted questions.
“The main thing is getting that information to us and that they don’t feel like the information they have to offer isn’t important,” Nesty said. “What the public has to offer is important, we welcome all the information they can give us.”
By next year the group says they hope to have the list started and begin double checking accuracy.