In Memory Of  Markers for Classmates not buried at the Academy
and
Academy Cemetery Information

Class of 1968 Memorial Marker Project                              August 25, 2009

Gene Rose headed the committee that planned our 40 year reunion. The committee decided that we would take on a project to memorialize all of our classmates who had died and who were not buried or already memorialized at the Academy Cemetery. This project was headed by Steve McPhail, who was assisted by Carl Janssen.

Of the 61 classmates who had died, 21 were already at the Academy Cemetery when we started. We placed Jim Lyon's ashes in the Academy Cemetery Columbarium, and Wally Curtis was buried during our reunion. Of the remaining 38, we were either able to contact next of kin or gather sufficiently accurate information to have memorial markers made and placed at the cemetery for 36 of them. We also received word of the death of John Lambert during the reunion.

If the Veterans Affairs benefit of a grave marker was used when a classmate was buried elsewhere, either the class or the next of kin, if they desired, paid for the marker. Since the Academy Cemetery isn't a national cemetery, we were able to have wings added to the markers when it was appropriate for a modest additional cost.

Our class officers have agreed to continue funding this effort for at least the next five years.
For questions and suggestions, contact Steve McPhail at 214-392-1324, samcphail@yahoo.com, or Carl Janssen at 719-488-6778, cjanssenjr@aol.com.

What We Learned

First, it is very important that your loved ones know your wishes for the arrangements when you die. This can be a simple process, but it needs to be done. You can leave your wishes and instructions in a letter or note with someone who knows where they are. They don't have to be notarized or official in any way. They just need to be instructive.

A good place to start is at the USAFA Mortuary Affairs area of the USAFA web site. It can be found at http://www.usafa.edu/10abw/10msg/mortaffairs/. Whether or not you plan to be buried at the Academy, this web site has very detailed information that anyone will need, and it includes forms you can use to capture important information about yourself and your wishes. It also answers the "Can I be buried at the Academy?" question. The answer is yes for all grads and their eligible relatives.

Second, regardless of where you will be buried, it is important that your loved ones contact the Academy at the time of your death. They should call the Association of Graduates at 719-472-0300. This not only starts the process of your information being included in the Checkpoints "Gone But Not Forgotten" section, it also alerts our class about your passing and leads to contact between your loved ones and the Academy's Mortuary Affairs folks for any assistance they can provide. Their phone number is 719-333-3323.

Third, if it is your desire to rest at the Academy Cemetery when you die, there are three options. Your body or ashes can be buried in a grave site in the cemetery, or your ashes can be placed in the Columbarium in the east facing wall of the new Memorial Pavilion at the cemetery. If there are no remains, you can have a memorial marker placed in the memorial section of the cemetery. Your VA grave marker benefit can be used for burial and the Academy furnishes the columbarium nameplates.

Fourth, if you are buried elsewhere a memorial marker can be placed at the USAFA cemetery. If the VA grave marker benefit is used elsewhere, your loved ones can pay for the marker or the class will. If the VA benefit was not used elsewhere, it can be used to provide the memorial marker at the Academy Cemetery.


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