The graves at the cemetery, which dates to the 1840s, are scattered across a patch of land behind the church on Rabbittown Road near Piedmont.
“I walked the cemetery 25 times I bet,” said Larry Moran, the church member who designed the memorial. “I was trying to make sure we didn’t forget anybody. It’s not like going down a row of cotton. It zig zags.”
Church members believe several more graves at the cemetery mark the resting places of Confederate soldiers, but there are no names on those stones to know for certain, Moran said.
Veterans of World War II make up 23 of the 56 names on the granite memorial, which stands at the front of the cemetery.
There are 16 veterans from the Civil War named on the monument, eight World War I veterans, seven from the Korean War and four who served during the Vietnam War.
Among the surnames engraved on the memorial’s five granite pillars, some can be found again and again, fathers and sons having fought in their own wars decades apart.
To help design the memorial, Moran travelled throughout Calhoun County looking at existing monuments. Using ideas from many different sites, Moran sat down with pen and paper and came up with his own design.
“I hate to brag on myself, but I think it’s a nice one,” Moran said. “Put a lot of thought in it.”
Moran is a Vietnam War veteran, serving in the U.S. Army until 1969. Moran’s great-grandfather, Robert Augusta Murray, served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War, and is buried at the cemetery, as was Moran’s father, Oscar Moran, who served during World War II.
Moran is one of six veterans who attend the church, he said, adding that it wasn’t hard finding people to raise money for the memorial.
Church members have raised nearly all of the $15,000 cost of the monument, which was made by Daniel Memorial in Heflin, Moran said. They hope to pay the balance off in January, he said.
Moran said the memorial honors the veterans’ service in a lasting way — so that no one will forget.
Engraved in the monument’s central pillar are the words “Much was asked. Much they gave. May we honor them by never forgetting them.”
Staff writer Eddie Burkhalter: 256-235-3563. On Twitter @Burkhalter_Star.