As time passes and the present becomes the past, sometimes there are those who are left behind.
For those who have an eternal home in Griffin’s Union Cemetery, a hopeful community has come together in honor and memory of those long since lost to provide a voice for those who have stayed silent so many years.
I have been one of those volunteers who have been visiting the site for the past five weeks as the city of Griffin has worked with the three local churches that own the private property to restore the 5-acre site. While it is unknown of the exact number of burials that have taken place on the property — numbers estimate as high as several hundred — the cemetery has unfortunately fallen into neglect and become covered with thousands of vines, weeds, trees, leaves and other debris that has left many grave sites covered and forgotten.
Over the past month, names such as George B. Boggs, who served in the U.S. Army in World War I and passed away in 1977 at the age of 87, Aron Eppinger, a corporal in the 370th Infantry, World War II and Vietnam veteran Joe Voundell McCrady, have all had headstones uncovered as volunteers have hacked away with machetes, rakes, chain saws, hedge clippers — any tools that could be carried to the site.
It is not just veterans buried at Union Cemetery. Names such as J.S. Bivins, buried in 1907, Earl Redding, who passed away May 24, 1947, and one memorable headstone that simply reads “Mrs. Pullin” have all been revealed thanks to the efforts of so many volunteers.
Having visited Union Cemetery and seen how hard this community has pulled together to try to provide relatives and the deceased with dignity and respect by removing so much overgrowth and debris, I can hardly provide the words in this letter that would describe the dedication and difficulty that has gone into an attempt to preserve this locally historic site.
Southern Crescent Technical College
SkillsUSA American Spirit Committee