Markers stolen off of three Huntsville Veteran graves

Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 10:40 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - WAFF 48 learned on Tuesday the grave markers of three Veterans have been stolen from their resting place.

We're told the markers were left in a rental house.
We're told the markers were left in a rental house.(WAFF)

Investigators can’t pinpoint when these grave markers were stolen, but we do know the pain this crime is causing family members.

WAFF met with the daughter of one of these veterans.

She says she just learned about this and her whole family is in shock

World War II, Vietnam, Korea: Three men who served our country in these wars no longer have a plaque on their grave honoring that service.

“I took it really personally,” John Nolan.

Retired Army Officer John Nolan says he learned Monday the markers of Earl Archie, Willie Lewis and Sam Batts, all men with ties to Huntsville, turned up in a bizarre location; in a home after the tenants who were renting it moved out.

The three veterans were laid to rest in Indian Creek Cemetery in Huntsville, Meadowlawn Garden of Peace in Toney and the National Cemetery in Nashville.

“Were apparently going to be used to be melted or sold for the value of the brass or copper that might be in it,” Nolan said.

Now he’s made it his mission to get the word out to their loved ones.

“For someone to do it for that little bit of value to disparage and deny kind of the honorific that you get from having your marker and your service identified with your name and dates of service and so on, I think that that’s an importance remembrance. Anyone who destroys any part of our history is a pretty despicable character I would think.”

Slyvia Archie, is Earl Archie’s daughter. She says she followed in her father’s footsteps, also serving 20 years in the Army.

“We come out here and bring flowers and put out flowers and stuff like that, but we can’t find his gravesite right now, so we’re just wandering around trying to find him,” Archie said.

Archie says her family is just hurt by this.

“For one, stealing is wrong. And two, you’re taking from a veteran who gave their life to be here. Pray that the people that are responsible are held accountable for their actions and seek forgiveness for them as well,” Archie said.

Nolan tells us they will be reporting these crimes to local police agencies.

As for the markers, the Alabama Veterans Affairs will make sure they are returned to their rightful places.

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