A front-page piece Sunday in the York (Pa.) Daily Record told the tale of Hellam Township's Mike Wherley and his connection to the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery.
After his service in Vietnam, Mr. Wherley and an Army buddy visited Washington and were disturbed to learn the tomb did not include an unknown casualty of that war.
He launched a crusade to have a Vietnam soldier interred at the monument. He lobbied Congress and the military — even scoring a meeting with Caspar Weinberger when the then defense secretary visited York College to speak.
The effort was successful. On Memorial Day 1984, President Ronald Reagan dedicated the memorial.
It was a remarkable and laudable effort on Mr. Wherley's part — making certain that those who perished in Vietnam but whose remains could not be identified were properly honored.
Flash forward several decades, and there's an interesting postscript to this story. Military officials in 1998 identified the Vietnam soldier who was placed in the Tomb of the Unknowns: Air Force 1st Lt. Michael Joseph Blassie. As he prepared for a speech on the 30th anniversary of the entombment of the unknown, Mr. Wherley did some research on Mr. Blassie. It turned out he flew air support missions in the area of Vietnam where Mr. Wherley's unit served. He was likely a guardian angel for many of Mr. Wherley's fellow soldiers.
It's a moving story, and thanks to Mr. Wherley for sharing it.
In another story about memorials: This memorial doesn't actually exist — yet.
It is a memorial to an unknown black militia man who died defending Wrightsville, Pa., against Confederates during a Civil War siege aiming to take control of the Susquehanna River bridge.
He was the only fatality of that conflict, and yet there is no public marker or memorial to his ultimate sacrifice.
Last year, as preparations were under way to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg battle, a group gathered, many in full re-enactment regalia, to dedicate a new grave marker for an unknown Rebel soldier who died on the banks of the Susquehanna.
Since then, the question has been raised repeatedly: If our community can stir itself to memorialize the grave of an enemy of the union, why has it not enacted any monument to an unknown man who died helping to preserve that union?
Some have discussed such a venture, but this effort remains to be accomplished.
Who will step forward to make sure this man gets the memorial he deserves?