Tuesday, July 27, 2010

It's Never Too Late for a Proper Burial

Samuel Brown Sr. is truly at peace now. The former slave and Union soldier's plot no longer identifies him as a member of the Confederate army.

Brown's surviving relatives and Civil War buffs in period dress gathered at Vallejo's Sunrise Memorial Cemetery on Saturday for the dedication of his new headstone.

"We are here to render long overdue honors to a man who pledged to defend his country in trying times," said Brad Shaw, a national officer of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. "Too long, he has been denied what is rightfully his. We are here today to give some small measure of the devotion he willed to us when he joined the Union Army."

Brown was born into slavery in Georgia in 1833. After being emancipated, he joined the Union Army at 32, where he served for about one year.

The 90-year-old was mistakenly buried under a Confederate headstone at the cemetery for reasons that remain unexplained.

Brown's family members visited the grave site for years without noticing the error. A cemetery employee who was cleaning up one day spotted the mistake and contacted the Sons of Union Veterans.

Shaw said all veterans deserve proper recognition for their service.

The memorial organization held Saturday's ceremony with the American Civil War Association, a war-reenactment group.

"This is beautiful," said Mary Johnson, Brown's

Information from: San Francisco Chronicle


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