COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Green Lawn Cemetery held a Memorial Day service where thousands of military veterans from all branches of service dating as far back as the Revolutionary War, had their grave stones decorated with American flags, placed at each stone by Boy Scouts.
Before that ceremony, a special service was held for a high-decorated soldier, buried in Green Lawn Cemetery for almost a century without a grave stone.
NBC4 was with a small group who paid him honors.
Clinton Greaves was a Medal of Honor recipient, who fought out west after the Civil War and the only Buffalo Soldier buried in Columbus.
Born into slavery in Virginia, Greaves fought with the US Calvary and was decorated in 1877 after saving fellow soldiers while battling Apaches in New Mexico.
Members of the Columbus Buffalo Soldiers Club came to Greaves grave site riding on Harley Davidson motorcycles to pay him honor.
“It should be noted that for 92 years this American hero had no stone,” said Chaplain David Harrison, a club member while presiding over the graveside service. He said that was rectified in 1996.
Even though it took a long time to recognized Greaves’ heroism, Bell said they use his story and others to teach African-American history to anyone interested in learning.
“That is something we can pass on to the public and African American young adults, that we are a part of this country, we helped build this country. We are just as important as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln,” said Larry Bell.
Bell said the Buffalo Soldiers like Greaves did more than just battle Native Americans.
“Their main duties were escorting settlers going west, they were also part of the pony express,” he said.
Among the thousands of military veterans buried at Green Lawn Cemetery, there are five Medal of Honor recipients, relatives of four US Presidents, five Ohio Governors and a descendant of a survivor of the Titanic. Some military notables are Eddie Rickenbacker, General Charles Walcutt, Frederick Phisterer, Medal of Honor recipient and General John G. Mitchell.