Flags, Memorials, and Cemeteries

  • September 30th, 2011
  • Posted in

Veterans Are Entitled to A Free Cemetery Marker

Legion Post 8 can help you get a veterans grave marker at no expenses to the family. Usually the funeral home handling a veterans final arrangements will take care of the cemetery marker but with “direct” cremations, the family may have to do it themselves.

Contact our Adjutant or Service Officer for assistance!

Further on below is a story about one such cemetery stone request that inspired a village and a Canadian Province to better recognized their veterans.

Further Information on Cherryfield Area Veterans Cemetery Markers

Free to download for your personal research are two documents compiled by Peter Duston, Adjutant of Post No. 8. The first is a location guide to help researchers locate Cherryfield area cemeteries. The second is a current list of Cherryfield area veterans cemetery markers. Right click the link to each file and select the option “Save Link As…” Save the PDF to a location on your computer, and then open it at your convenience using Adobe Reader.

Cemetery Locations (.pdf)
Cherryfield Area Veterans Cemetery Markers (.pdf)


Webelos Scout Jordan Perry dips the Flag as the chaplain offers a prayer at the Memorial Day observance. Commander Doug Dowling bows his head!


Oscar’s Flag

We stood on the steps of the old Post Office in Machias, Maine;  me the Executive Director of the county Community Action Agency, headquartered in that building and  he, a board member and WWII veteran.  I knew that Oscar was a survivor of the Bataan Death March but no details, he never talked about that part of his life.  I had just repaired and painted the old government flag pole and hung a halyard with a publicity plan to put up a Flag, first flag in many years over Main Street.

I thought that Oscar as a respected local veteran and lobster fisherman, might be interested in raising the Flag as part of the ceremony so I asked.

It was a grey gloomy day and we were just looking off into the distance over town.  He was very quiet for a few moments,  got a far off look in his eye then slowly and very softly responded: “No, I just couldn’t do it.”  You see, Peter, after that damned “March” I was shipped to Northern Burma to a camp in the remote jungle.  Our guys were dying like flies and by the end, we had lost 1,000’s to disease, malnutrition, torture and execution.   One day at the end of the War, the camp guards just left and we were still dying.  Because we were in such a remote place, rescue didn’t get to us right away so they sent C-47’s that dropped food and medical supplies. It was too late for some but they died free.  Some of the guys gathered pieces of parachute and some other rags to fashion a crude American Flag that we raised over that camp.  I will never forget those 5,000, sick, weak and some dying guys trying to stand at attention, holding each other up just to salute that Flag going up over their Hell.  “No, I couldn’t do your Flag.”  Oscar Look Sr. Addison, Maine


1LT Peter Duston, US Army-retired



The Importance of a Footnote

We don’t always know where a decision we make or an action we take may lead. Often, it’s of little apparent importance but other times, it may have a profound impact on a historic event.

Such is the case with the responses to a request for help several years ago at Post 8, Cherryfield’s Beano night. Hector Pictou, a Miq Mac from Eel Ground First Nation in New Brunswick approached several legionnaires helping at Beano asking for assistance in getting recognition for his cousin, Joe “Bucksaw” Simonson who he believed was a veteran of the US Army. Joe had died 10 years before and was busied in Eel Ground with a wooden grave marker, there being no close family or money to buy a “proper” stone. Although Joe was a reticent man and never talked about any military service, Hector had an old photograph of Joe in what appeared to be a US Army uniform. It would have been so easy to just say, “Sorry.”, especially to a Native American who is used to being historically discriminated against or marginalized in our white culture. But, no! Comrades Joe Sproul, Mariner Burgess, and others listened and said the magic words, “Of course, we can help.” “We want to help.” They sent Hector to see me and assured him that we at Post 8 would help. In my role as Americanism Officer, I was frequently called upon to help with  obtaining records, medals, grave markers, benefits etc. for our local veterans so I knew what to do. The story about the stone has been told but the footnote to the whole story is as follows:

Yes, a veteran got his headstone and recognition. It happens all the time. In this case, the stone was just the beginning of a movement that finally brought recognition to the Indian veterans of New Brunswick. The story about Bucksaw Joe caught the attention of the Canadian media and highlighted the neglect that Canadian Indian veterans had endured for years. Eel Ground Indian Reserve had been trying for years to erect a monument to honor their veteran warriors but the requests had fallen on deaf ears of the provincial officials. The publicity surrounding a US Army Honor Guard from Maine crossing the border in full dress uniforms transporting the beautiful engraved grave stone with the symbol of Native Religion and tribal designation became the catalyst that changed a culture of neglect to one of honor. “Bucksaw” was a veteran of the Korean War era. The Canadian Korean War Association sent delegates to apologize for the neglect and to honor one of their own. The Canadian Legion sent representatives to participate.  The entire Eel Ground Village turned out, TV and Press were there. There was scarcely a dry eye as the elementary school children sang “Oh Canada” in their native Mic Maq. The folding of the American Flag, Taps, and the presentation to Joe’s “family” was equally moving: “On behalf of the President of the United States and a grateful Nation…”

The atmosphere changed for the New Brunswick Indian veterans. The following year on Remembrance Day, the Provincial Governor dedicated the Eel Ground Veterans Monument with a large multicultural and diverse assemblage. The “Forgotten” native warriors were being remembered, finally.

Sometimes, we never know when a comradely act of brotherhood can change the world. Thank you, Joe, Mariner and others who did the right thing at the right time. You helped change history.

Peter Duston, Adjutant