A group comprised of the Crawford County Commissioner and veterans interested in having a state-operated veterans ceremony in northern Michigan held a wreath laying service for two National Guardsmen ahead of Memorial Day.
Friday’s service was held for two Michigan National Guard soldiers of the 1/125th Infantry Battalion: Private George A. Laine and Private First Class John A. Conroy. The two privates are buried atop of Johnson Hill on what might be the smallest military cemetery in the country.
The group that held the ceremony says they’ve been pushing to have a military ceremony in Crawford County for some time as there are currently no state-operated cemeteries in the state. They say it would mean a lot to local veterans.
“There’s no greater honor than to be buried with your fellow service members, that’s just something we want to do,” said Crawford County Commissioner Carey Jansen. “I come from a military family, my grandfather is buried in Holly, we’d just love to see that opportunity come to the residents of northern Michigan, just a huge gap, and we want to give them the same opportunities our friends down-state have.”
“I grew up in Gaylord, Michigan, so I’m local,” said Lieutenant Colonel Frank Laurence, Garrison Commander at Camp Grayling. “It would mean a lot to me, and I know it would mean a lot to other veterans I’ve served with, and those that have passed on that I’ve served with as well.”
Crawford County is now on their third attempt to get a state-operated veterans ceremony. Group leaders say it’s at the furthest it’s been in the process.