Remembering family past and present on Memorial Day

This year on Memorial Day, my Aunt, Cousin and my Cousin’s family made a special visit to my late Uncle’s grave to remember his service in the Vietnam War. I wish I could have been there in person, but because of digital photography and social media my cousin could share the images of the service with family members scattered around the country.

Sifting through all the information available on, I discovered another family member who fought in a war long ago. My grandfather’s great uncle, Ora Butler Douglas, was a young man in his early 20’s when he enlisted in the Union Army to fight in the Civil War. After his promotion to 1st Sergeant, he was wounded in the Siege of Vicksburg May of 1863. He died later that summer and was buried in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri. He was only 25.

Though he left no descendants, my great-grandfather Ora Philander Seward inherited his first name. He has a virtual memorial on Find A Grave and someday I hope to visit and see the site for myself.