WHNT News 19 works to solve runaround to get Vietnam veteran’s grave marker installed

Taking Action
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MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. – The widow of a Vietnam veteran wrote us recently asking for help in getting her husband’s tombstone placed.

It’s been almost a year since Sgt. James Stricklin died, and the only thing marking his grave was a stick holding a small American flag, and some artificial flowers on the ground.

WHNT News 19 wasted no time in Taking Action and Getting Results.

Stricklin laid in an unmarked grave at Burningtree Memorial Gardens for almost a year. His widow placed the flag there as a tribute while she tried to work through delays getting his grave marker.

“He was one of the nicest guys I ever met,” said Kathleen Douglas.  She said they met while dancing at the American Legion in Decatur.

They met late in life, and were only married three years before he died.

“Not long enough. Disappointing,” Kathleen said.

Kathleen says when the plaque for his grave came in, it had the wrong date of birth, so they had to order a new one. It arrived and sat at the cemetery for a couple of months, but she says the cemetery staff have been dragging their feet.

“So what do they tell you when you call ’em?” we asked.

“If they answer. Most of the time they don’t answer. When they do answer, I talk to her and ask what’s happening and no we didn’t get it in,” Kathleen said.

So, WHNT News 19 called and the manager promised they’d have it placed by the end of the day. We’re glad to say they did. We called Kathleen and told her and she came straight out. This represents closure, or at least a step in that direction.

“It’s the last thing I have to do, attend to. The grieving and all that, that’s still going to be there but as far as the last actual action that has to be taken, that would be it. So again, I thank you very much for Channel 19, Taking Action and Getting Results for me.”

“My pleasure. My pleasure,” I said.

I stood around for a few minutes after Kathleen left thinking all it took was a phone call to the right people to get this fixed, no big deal. Unless it’s your husband, or wife, or child laying in an unmarked grave and then it’s a very big deal. It was my pleasure to help this family. Rest in peace, Sgt. Stricklin, and thank you.

The folks at Burningtree tell us they only got the corrected plaque last month, and say they’re sorry it took them so long to get the marker down.  If you’ve got a problem, tell us about it.  Maybe we can take action and get results for you, too.