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The Lebanon County Commissioners recognized Palmyra man Ken Long yesterday for his replacement of more than 120 headstones of American military vets in Lebanon County.
County Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz posted video of the meeting (watch it below).
“I appreciate the recognition, and I feel like I did a very satisfying thing, and I’m happy that we could do that,” said King at the meeting. His wife was also in attendance.
For Union Army veterans, Long was able to get the gravestones for free through a VA program that involves a typically tedious government process. As of last year, he had obtained 93 replacement stones through this process. Oftentimes Long would end up paying for the actual replacement process out of his own pocket, although donations were sometimes available from the county and other sources.
Much of his work was done in Mt. Lebanon Cemetery in the Soldier’s Block, where he replaced 16 tombstones, and then another 38 scattered among the rest of the property (for context, Mt. Lebanon Cemetery has more than 20,000 burials). Long has put tombstones in seventeen cemeteries in Lebanon County.
Long typically researches the veterans as he is working on their grave sites, and shares that information with the Lebanon County Historical Society for safekeeping.
Whereas Kenneth Long, a former Air Force sergeant is being honored for his concern and efforts in replacing damaged or missing headstones for veterans graves in multiple cemeteries throughout Lebanon County and,
Whereas while walking through a cemetery Mr. Long and his wife Katherine noticed numerous toppled, broken, and missing headstones for veterans and cemeteries when they decided to contact the sons of Union veterans of the Civil War to discuss corrective action to alleviate this injustice to our veterans and,
Wheres Mr. Long, and now with the assistance of others, replaced 120 veterans headstones
Whereas Mr. Long’s devotion and commitment for over a decade to our veterans and making certain that veterans damaged tombstones are taken care of exemplifies his integrity and dedication to our country,
Now therefore we the Commissioners of Lebanon County on behalf of veteran families and all our citizens are proud of the work Kenneth Long has accomplished and express our appreciation to him for his many years of hard work and dedication to our community.
Thank you for sharing Ken’s story. In Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address in 1865 he said “To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan.” Just before Veterans Day, it seemed appropriate to honor a veteran who continues to honor other veterans—even after they’re gone.