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Rochester

Military Grave Markers Returned to Cemetery

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Rochester: Military Grave Markers Returned to Cemetery
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At Webster Rural Cemetery, just about every war American soldiers fought in is represented, from the American Revolution to the Civil War to Korea and Vietnam.

Soldiers' graves are signified by military markers. Little did anyone know two were missing from the graves of World War One veterans. What’s strange is where they mysteriously wound up.

"While we were dealing with a domestic, I had noticed two headstones outside the apartment building,” said Officer Tomesha Angelo of the Rochester Police Department.

Police officers never know what they're going to come up against on a domestic violence call. Angelo and her partner had no idea why they found what they found behind an apartment building on Portland Avenue.

"At first I thought, that's weird, then I realized they were both born in the 1800s, and I thought, that's not right."

The stones were taken to the property clerk at the Public Safety Building. Angelo called a friend at a funeral home who referred her to Veterans Affairs, which quickly tracked down the misplaced stones to the cemetery in Webster. Angelo knew that's where they belonged.

"This is somebody's loved one, and they're supposed to be resting in peace, not to mention both of these stones were World War I veterans, and that was another little tug on my heart."

So Monday, she returned them. Assistant cemetery superintendent Tom Rothfuss was surprised to get the call, but also proud, and honored, to help return the military markers.

"I really think Officer Angelo deserves a big thank you from the whole community. These are American heroes and they deserve to be memorialized as such,” said Rothfuss.

No one is sure how, when or why the markers left the cemetery in the first place, or certainly how they wound up in a lot in the city of Rochester.

"They don't belong at the corner of Portland and Lux, I can tell you that,” said Angelo with a laugh.

Army Private August Musmacher passed away in 1978. Kenneth Beebe was a private in the Army Veterinary Corps, and was buried here 46 years ago.

For Angelo, returning their military markers was the only thing to do. She too, has many family members who've served.

"I'm honored. I am. I was glad I was able to drop them back in. I'm glad I got to visit the graves and pay my respects,” Angelo said. "in my eyes now they can continue to rest in peace."

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