Carterville Cemetery Honors their own Soldiers; World War II Memorial Stone joins others at Attention

Joplin News First

The 3,000 pound Memorial Stone was set in place recently in the ongoing Carterville Cemetery Veterans Memorial

CARTERVILLE, Mo. – Looking at the newly set World War II Memorial in Carterville Cemetery you can tell there is a theme going with three pedestals standing tall and then two others empty.

Setting the WW2 3,000 pound
marker in place, February 2021. (Joplin News First/Shannon Becker/Nexstar Inc.)

“In 2019 we set the World War I Memorial Stone here in Carterville. The year before that was the Civil War Stone and now this is the third we’ve done. We are privileged to be a part of honoring Veterans of Carterville,” Quality Memorials Inc., Billy Joslen tells us.

Kavan Stull, Carterville Cemetery Board Member, was on hand as the stone was set by M&M Wrecker of Carthage. He says this latest stone is virtually a history lesson. “You can read it in 5 minutes and learn a lot.”

THE BIGGEST AND DEADLIEST WAR IN HISTORY

US DEATHS 416,800 MISSOURI DEATHS 11,574

ETCHED ON THE 3,000 POUND WORLD WAR II MEMORIAL STONE

This isn’t the first stone we’ve witnessed them to place on their Veterans Memorial. In 2019 they placed the World War I Memorial Stone and at that time Cemetery Board Member, Calvin Divine, was on hand. Divine recently passed away but Stull tells us that they hope to continue with the Memorial. Divine’s daughter is a great help in writing the applications for grants.

EMPTY PEDESTALS SIT AT ATTENTION

So the other pedestals that are empty? Plans are to honor Veterans of the Korean War and then Vietnam.

Also if things go as planned they will landscape, have a fence be the backdrop for all the stones of the memorial, and place small stones to remember those who fought in Afghanistan and Desert Storm. There are also Veterans of the 1898 Spanish American War buried in Carterville Cemetery. However all those additions will come with more time, research and grant money that is received.

“These beautiful stones have been researched by volunteers and then members of the cemetery board walk to each grave and confirm details with records,” – Calvin Divine.

CARTERVILLE HISTORY

Battle of Carthage

The town of Carterville was established when the post office was opened in 1875. The first of the Veteran Memorial Stones honor those in The Civil War. That was created and set in 2018.

With the Battle of Carthage, Battles of Newtonia, Battle of Pea Ridge, Battle of Baxter Springs (or more commonly called the Baxter Springs Massacre) and other conflicts close to the town of Carterville. It seems the cemetery was established about the same time.

As you approach the Carterville Cemetery on northern edge of town while driving north on Pine Street, which is Historic Route 66, the cemetery is laid on 26 acres right at a 90 degree turn from north to east. You can immediately spot the beautiful metal fencing along the road.

These private foundations give money for rural cemeteries to help with improvements, like the fence, and the Veterans Memorials,” Calvin Divine.

US RECOVERY OF WWI DEAD (from 2019 article)

Placing the World War I Memorial Stone,
September 2019 (Joplin News First/Shannon Becker/Nexstar Inc.)

September of 2019 the second stone was heavily researched and placed honoring the World War I Veterans.

History tells us it was a different time 100 years ago during World War I. Bodies of soldiers were buried near where they died in the European conflicts. Refrigeration and transportation were a challenge with the world at war. So in 1920 after WWI the United States spent two years and more than $30 million recovering the soldiers who died on the battle front.

American families could choose, have soldiers remains sent home to America, or have their loved ones placed in newly created American Military Cemeteries in Europe.

The remains of 46,000 soldiers were returned to the United States at their families’ request, while another 30,000 were laid to rest in military cemeteries in Europe.

Six of those soldiers were returned to the United States, to their families in Carterville, Missouri. They were then buried here, at home. And they continue to be honored with a new Memorial, 100 years later, placed in 2019.

Carterville Cemeter Board Member, the late Calvin Divine, told us in 2019 that the men on the front of the WWI Memorial Stone are men that fought and died in Europe. They were originally buried across the ocean. The men on the back of the memorial served but came home. Each one of them listed though are buried in Carterville Cemetery.

IN NEED OF VOLUNTEERS: It’s a small group of people who work to keep the Carterville Cemetery looking beautiful and arranging new plots along with researching projects like the Veterans Memorial. Board Member Kavan Stull jokingly told us, “it would be great to have someone under 60!” To volunteer reach them via Facebook.

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