Veteran's Son Seeks Missing Headstone - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

04/30/04

Veteran's Son Seeks Missing Headstone

They thought markers for their loved ones' graves were already in place. Instead, they're in storage. We first told you yesterday that the Department of Veterans Affairs was investigating the Sidney A. Jones Funeral Home in Savannah. The department confiscated 241 veterans' headstones that the funeral home never placed.

We with one veteran's family about the problem. World War II Army veteran James Habersham, Sr., died eight years ago. His son, James Jr., saw our story yesterday, but it wasn't until we talked with him today that he learned his father's headstone was among the ones now in the possession of the VA.

"I'm appalled to know it exists and he doesn't have it," he told us.

James Sr.'s grave still doesn't have a proper headstone. His son said he ordered one from the VAS using the Sidney A. Jones funeral home. But the family never learned if it arrived. "They got all the information and said they would get in touch with us and we waited," said Habersham. "I was just about to order it again, thinking they didn't call for it at all."

Only after learning that the Department of Veteran Affairs was investigating the funeral home did Habersham learn about his father's headstone. "I had no idea it was just sitting there," he said. "I would have gone by and gotten nephews and sons. We would go by and get it ourselves if that is what it would take."

Habersham says he's upset about what happened, but he's trying not to be angry about what happened to his father. "I can dissolve that anger," he said. "Just give me his headstone. Daddy really needs his headstone. It's deserving, I know because he was a real good man in the city."

If you are missing a veteran's headstone that you ordered, you can call the Department of Veterans Affairs at this special number they set up: 800.697.6947. To see the list of headstones that the Department of Veterans Affairs has, click here.

Reported by: Liz Flynn, lflynn@wtoc.com

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