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Teacher hopes to tell veterans’ stories

Veterans buried in Pike County and the stories behind their service were the topic of the Jan. 6 meeting of the Pike Historical Society. Pike County Middle School teacher Todd Child presented photos and information on veterans from all eras and wartimes, including the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Creek Indian Uprising, Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War and Operation Iraqi Freedom. ’One thing I’ve learned from documenting veterans’ graves in Pike County is what a patriotic county this is,’ he said. ‘In some graveyards you’ll see veterans buried next to each other who are grandfather, father and son. Their service went from one generation to the next.’ Child hopes to create a book honoring veterans of Pike County that tells the story of their service, details the locations where they are buried and includes photos of their graves. Anyone with information on veterans buried in Pike County is asked to contact him at tsc933@gmail.com or 770-567-3446. Child showed a slideshow of veterans’ graves from each of the wars listed above and told a brief history of several veterans. He asked anyone to submit information on the others not shown or whose details were not known. One of the stories he told was of brothers David and Terrell Johnston who both fought in the Civil War. David Johnston was killed in battle at Winchester and his brother Terrell fought at Cedar Creek and became a POW in Maryland until he was released in 1865 after the war had ended. Two other brothers, Grady and Pierre Sullivan, fought during WWI and both died the same way. The brothers died one year apart when they returned home on leave after contracting and succumbing to pneumonia. Many veterans from Pike are buried overseas where they fell in battle. Child hopes to tell their story as well for future generations. He and a friend take photos of veterans graves and post them to findagrave.com where anyone can search for veterans using their name or the location where they are buried. ’We’ve done a tremendous amount of research and it’s very rewarding when we’re contacted by a family member who never knew where their relative’s final resting place is,’ said Child. ‘We’ve gotten emails from people in New York, Michigan and other states saying thank you for posting the picture of their grandfather’s grave. It’s really rewarding.’

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