Legion members restore fading gravestones at Millerville Cemetery

This wasn't the first time the Inspiration Peak American Legion has honored the war dead.

GraveClean 266.jpg
Greg Slack, a member of the Inspiration Peak American Legion Post, uses a power-washer to clean a moss-covered headstone at the Millerville Cemetery. (Contributed photo)

More than 350 tombstones in the Millerville Cemetery that were covered in moss, mildew and dirt for decades, some stretching back to the Civil War era, are looking a lot spiffier today, thanks to the efforts of the Inspiration Peak American Legion Post.

It all started when Greg Slack, the post's treasurer, noticed a front-page story in the Echo Press about a shootout near Millerville 133 years ago that left a Civil War veteran dead. Two photos that accompanied the story showed the headstones of those involved in the shooting. The grit and weathering of more than a century had taken its toll.

"They were so covered you couldn't even see the names," Slack said.

So Slack and two of his Legion friends, Dwight Droen and Dennis Otto, decided to go to the Millerville Cemetery and do some power-washing. They ended up cleaning more than 350 headstones.

This wasn't the first time the Inspiration Peak American Legion has honored the war dead. Every Memorial Day, veterans from the post and their spouses bring a trumpet and rifles to cemeteries in northern Douglas and southern Otter Tail counties and they place flags at the graves of veterans. This past Memorial Day, they visited seven cemeteries – Millerville, Trinity, Eagle Lake, Leaf Mountain, Urbank, St. James and Ebenezer.


An Echo Press story from 2017 described the ceremonies: The adjutant barks commands. Riflemen fire blanks. The haunting notes of "Taps" float over the graves of veterans of long-ago wars. Sometimes big crowds attend the ceremonies. Sometimes, no-one comes. Even if nobody watches, even in drenching rain and flag-grabbing wind, they pay their respects as they have done for the past 50 years.

Al Edenloff is the editor of the twice-weekly Echo Press. He started his journalism career when he was in 10th grade, writing football and basketball stories for the Parkers Prairie Independent.
What To Read Next
Get Local