WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — A descendant of a Civil War veteran from Arkansas recently found buried at Wichita County cemetery had a chance to pay respects to the Union soldier this afternoon at a graveside ceremony.
David Smith said that he was surprised to see how many people showed up to his great-great grandfather’s graveside ceremony.
“This morning when we left, we were not expecting any of this so it kind of caught us off guard a little bit. But we appreciate all that showed up to honor him,” Smith said.
Thanks to the work of volunteers with Disabled American Veterans and Green Knights Military Motorcycle Club, David Smith was finally able to pay his respects to his great-great-grandfather, union soldier James McGuire, born in 1839.
“We knew who he was. We even knew he was out here somewhere. I just didn’t know where,” Smith said.
For nine years, volunteers with both organizations have come out to Wichita County cemetery to search for areas where forgotten soldiers may be buried. With a sole mission in mind. Honoring the fallen.
“It’s the perfect story of who Wichita Falls is. It’s the amalgamation of really hard-working, working-class people, who struggle and build something greater,” Beauchamp said.
Wichita County Commissioner Mark Beauchamp said it took some time but everything just fell into place after volunteers discovered James McGuire’s grave.
“I know they were searching for their relatives and correlating that he was buried here. Thus the call initially to precinct one. That’s why the ball got rolling so to speak,” Beauchamp said.
Presenting Smith a folded flag and plaque, attendees stood silent to remember the sacrifice of an American hero.
“Usually goes unnoticed but here we are, 89 years later, we are finally recognizing him for his contribution,” Beauchamp said.
A fitting salute to all those who may still have yet to be found.