Military Service Veterans


Our veterans are remembered on Armed Forces Day the third Saturday of May for those serving, Memorial Day the last Monday of May for those who died while serving and Veterans Day the 11th day of November honoring those who served.

A sad irony well known by anyone who has searched for documents in the Colonies is encountering the all too familiar refrain that the records were lost in the Civil War or destroyed by the British in the Revolutionary War or War of 1812. While we try to honor our military veterans, particularly our ancestors, anger rises to hear that British or Civil War soldiers used church and courthouse documents to start their morning coffee on the campfire or out of spite. How ironic they might have been destroying the documents of their own ancestors who had moved west a generation or more before. The same problem is encountered in Europe when reading accounts of how records back into the thirteenth and fourteenth century were lost in the Allied bombing of Germany in World War II. This is particularly frustrating when it is realized that most public records were kept in the local churches and not courthouses as in America.

In the 21st Century during the Iraqi Freedom and War on Terror era, we often hear how the Vietnam veterans, of my generation, were dishonored by society on their return from war. A fair share of the blame goes to veterans of World War I and II, named by Tom Brokaw as the Greatest Generation, who refuse admission to their political veteran associations such as the American Legion to "peacetime" veterans such as my father. Through no choice of their own, my orphaned father who joined the Air Force at age 17 in the late 1940's during peace time when the Air Force became a separate branch of service, with other peacetime veterans are denied admittance to "veteran" organizations by the "war veterans". It is unfortunate that today's Memorial and Veteran Day celebrations draw small crowds compared to earlier generations, but veterans share some of the blame along with the rest of society. Memorial Day, originally Decoration Day was started May 30, 1868 after the end of the Civil War. Anthony and Samuel, brothers of my great-great-grandmother Amanda KELKER helped to purchase and install several stone war memorials in early Fort Wayne, Indiana.

We glorify the past we never knew, especially in the era of movies and television where history is rewritten to glorify a past that never was. Too many take movies and television as fact, when it is almost always 100% fiction. Anyone who studies history, especially genealogy, quickly discovers that the majority of the population never served in any war. In fact service in the "great" wars of our history such as the Revolutionary and Civil Wars often had service times as short as three months with the ability to pay someone else to serve in your place common until the 20th Century. Even those who served three months in those great wars could serve without ever firing a shot at the enemy! Most American's never learned this part of our war history, assuming the past was similar to the present.

The internet provides many new technologies and amazing ways to honor our veterans. A moving video on You Tube is Remember Me!.

Last Surviving United States War Veterans

Family members who served in the:

French and Indian War 1754-1763

From Wikipedia: "Fort Forman (also spelled Furman or Foreman) was a stockade fort erected by Captain William Forman at the beginning of the French and Indian War situated three miles north of Romney on the South Branch Potomac River near Vance on WV 28. Fort Furman was in use from its construction in 1755 until 1764. Later, from Hampshire County in 1777, William Foreman led a company to the Ohio River for the relief of Fort Henry at Wheeling. Forman’s party fell into an ambuscade by Native Americans at "McMechen Narrows" on the Ohio near Moundsville. Twenty-one of the Virginian's were killed at the first fire and several men were badly wounded. This ambuscade is known as "Foreman’s Defeat." Captain William Forman is likely related to my Foreman ancestor's, but recent research shows he is not the brother to my line as originally thought, but is likely a cousin.

Revolutionary War

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War of 1812

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Civil War 1861-1865

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Library of Congress Spanish American War

Spanish American War


A granduncle of Wabash County, Indiana was the first son of Thomas Jefferson FOLLIS Jr. and his first wife Cynthia HUDDLESTON. He was an Eagles Lodge state president in 1935 and local secretary, belonged to the Moose Lodge, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion.

David Kinsey WAUGH

A second cousin twice removed he served in Company G 160th Indiana Infantry under Captain Joseph R. Harrison. His name is on the large concrete war monument at the Columbia City, Whitley County, Indiana Courthouse.

World War I 1917-1919

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World War II 1941 - 1945

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Peacetime Veteran

My father James FOLLIS served in between wars from 1946-1949 in the Army Air Force. He was stationed at Dayton, Ohio and Mitchel Air Force Base, Long Island, New York, were he was appointed a corporal March 24, 1949. The Air Force became a separate branch of the military September 17, 1949. Our FOLLIS ancestors and many other families lived near Dayton in Montgomery County, Ohio in the 1800's. 4th great-grandfather Isaac FALLIS and family are buried on their pioneer farm in the FALLIS Cemetery just a few miles east of Dayton, Ohio. Our FOREMAN ancestors lived on Long Island when they came from England to the new world in the 1600's.

Korean War

"The Forgotten War"

Robert P. GAGNON

Husband of my first cousin Colleen WORRELL of New Haven, Allen County, Indiana a Marine Corp veteran, past commander VFW Howard Bandelier Post 2457. Both are deceased.

Vietnam War

Vietnam Wall

Before You Go - tribute song video to the aging Vietnam Veterans

Thomas Michael Connell

Thomas Michael Connell Vietnam WallA college friend whose brother Thomas went to Vietnam where he was killed May 13, 1969 and never came home. See his name on the Vietnam Wall at

Klaus Dieter EGOLF

Fifth cousin, 20 year old medic who was in Vietnam less than a month when his parents received word he was killed in action. From Churubusco, Whitley County, Indiana. Buried in Christian Chapel Cemetery, Merriam, Noble County, Indiana.

Roy Dewitt PRATER

His body was returned June 15, 2010 for the 38 year old 6th cousin-in-law through his wife Carol Joann JAGGER, related through the ZUMBRUN families. Roy died April 6, 1972 in the Vietnam War. In March 2010 his son Dennis was notified Roy's remains had been discovered and would be returned for proper burial in Blue River Cemetery, Whitley County, Indiana. He had been honored locally in 1976, June 2, 1979 at Wright Patterson Air Force Base Dayton, Ohio and in 1997 at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington D.C. Frank Gray of the Journal Gazette had his story "Downed pilot’s return ‘bittersweet’ for son." June 17, 2010 "Procession for Airman to Arrive in Whitley." June 18, 2010 "Fallen Hero Comes Home 38 Years Later." June 20, 2010 "Farewell to Dad, at last" covers his honoring by hundreds of well wishers returning his final remains to the Blue River Cemetery near Columbia City, Whitley County, Indiana. He was honored with Prater Hall Building 1213 in 1979 on the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. He has a 1997 memorial in Section 34 Site 680-A at the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia shown on Find-A-Grave. I added some comments and links to his story on the Vietnam Wall.

James Henry ZUMBRUN

James H Zumbrun Vietnam WallFifth cousin once removed, a 26 year old, 3rd voluntary tour of duty, Silver and Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Special Forces Green Beret killed January 10, 1970 when his observation plane was shot down over Vietnam. Name on Vietnam Wall at and My Armed Forces

2001-present Afghanistan and the War on Terror and the Taliban

Allen County, Indiana 21st Century Veterans' Honor Roll

Fifth cousin General Karl EIKENBERRY, certainly is not following the non-military pacifist ways of the Church of the Brethren origin of our EIKENBERRY ancestors. His father's obituary October 12, 2006 helped connect him to the family tree, using census records and the Peter EICHENBERG family history book.

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