MARBLE CLIFF, Ohio (WCMH) – Ninty-three fallen service members received a special tribute this Memorial Day outside of a church in Marble Cliff.
Flags dotted the lawn outside of First Community, with laminated papers attached to each flagpole detailing news clippings, bios and notes from family and friends.
“In order to honor someone, you have to know what they’re about,” explained Graham Webb.
A former soldier in the U.S. Army himself, Webb started the Memorial Day Field of Remembrance close to a decade ago. Each year, he honors specific groups with flags and spends innumerable hours researching and contacting next of kin.
Judy Chaput was surprised to receive an email from Webb recently confirming her father’s information.
“I’m amazed by all of the research that Mr. Webb has done and all of the time that he put in to honor these people,” Chaput said.
She was 7 years old when her father, Captain Donald Jacobsen, was shot down by small arms in Vietnam. The U.S. Air Force pilot was deployed as an aerial observer, directing bomber pilots in a small, single engine plane. He was 29 when he died.
“I remember attending my dad’s funeral and then asking my mom that night when he was coming home,” Chaput recalled.
She and other families and friends were moved by Webb’s tribute.
Dave Boyd attends First Community with Webb and lost brother in the same war. Lt. Robert Boyd, a 24-year-old ROTC grad from Maine, was serving his 11th month of a 13-month deployment when he was killed in action.
“He was a very well-known student and everybody loved him,” Dave Boyd said of his older brother. “I found it almost inconceivable that he would be gone.”
Other family members and friends of the fallen service members said walking through the Field of Remembrance was both emotional and cathartic.
“I’m just very thankful that they’re finally being honored for the sacrifices that they made,” said Keith Radick, who lost a close friend and the best man from his wedding in Vietnam.
In addition to the flag display, Webb plays Taps every night at sunset over the Memorial Day weekend to honor the lives lost.
He said it’s fulfilling giving families and friends a tangible way to remember their loved ones.
“It’s not just burying their loved one and it’s all over the pain goes on forever,” he said.
Next year, Webb plans to dedicate the Field of Remembrance to people killed in WWII.