Putnam County Helps Family Decorate a WWI Veteran’s Grave

CARMEL, NY – Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell and the Putnam County Veterans Service Agency assisted a family in decorating their grandfather’s grave to signify he had served in the U.S. Army.

James V Christian served in the U.S. Army during World War I and was wounded in battle. He met his wife, Anna, while he was recovering at Walter Reed Hospital. They married after his release and settle in Cold Spring, where they raised two sons and had seven grandchildren. Christian died in 1968 and is buried in Cold Spring Cemetery. Nothing on his headstone indicated his status as a Veteran. His granddaughter Gail Christian Byrnes asked for help from the Putnam County Veterans Service Agency.

On Tuesday, Aug. 28, the day after the 120th anniversary of Christian’s birth, a brief ceremony was held at his grave with family members, fellow veterans and Odell in attendance. On his headstone was a newly installed Bronze Medallion indicating his status as a Veteran of the United States Army.  The medallion was acquired from the National Cemetery Administration through the efforts of agency Deputy Director Art Hanley who also installed it with guidance and help from Don Hustis, Doug Logan and Jack Duncan.

“Those men and women who risk it all to protect our freedoms deserve their service to be remembered for generations, Odell said during the ceremony.  “Mr. Christian sounds like his life was something that only the movies are telling these days—a love story after a war and then a life well lived with a family who loved and remembers him.”

The ceremony concluded with agency Director Karl Rohde reciting a verse from the Bible, followed by the playing of TAPS by Joseph Baldanza as the Veterans present rendered salutes.