October 31, 2014

After a century, Civil War veterans receive grave markers

Kevin Bunch
Mike Unger, great-great-grandson of Civil War veteran Henry Serens, plants a flag at the site of his ancestor’s new grave marker.
Kevin Bunch
Commander Charles Buckhahn of the local Sons of Union Veterans group reads at Henry Serens’ gravesite.
Kevin Bunch
Re-enactors in full Civil War regalia fire off their breechloaders in a salute to the two veterans May 18.
Kevin Bunch
Descendants of Henry Serens: Richard Serens, Roberta Serens, Karen Csernyik, Mike Unger, John Unger, Mary Lou Serens and Joe Serens.
Kevin Bunch
Members of the VFW and American Legion visit Arenac Cemetery for the ceremonies honoring John Caton and Henry Serens.
Kevin Bunch
Chaplain Jack Frost, right, reads aloud about fallen soldiers in John Caton’s portion of the ceremony as local veterans and re-enactors look on.
Kevin Bunch
An honor guard stands ready while a bugler plays “Taps.”
Kevin Bunch
John Caton’s descendants came from Custer for the ceremony. Pictured are William Gordon, Charity Shaffer, Dawson Bigelow and Tina Davis.
Kevin Bunch
The Sons of the Union Veterans attend the ceremony dressed in their replica uniforms. Picured: Duane Phillips, Bob Boquette, Jonathon McInerney, Dennis Spiekerman, Len “Irish” McInerney, Jack Frost, Charles Buckhahn.
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ARENAC TWP. — Nearly a century after they died, Civil War veterans Henry Serens and John Caton received grave markers along with a full ceremony from the local VFW, American Legion and the Sons of Union Veterans May 18.

The two men were buried in Arenac Cemetery, but neither grave was marked save for township records. Brenda Matt, a member of the Arenac County Historical Society who has placed flags at veteran graves for several years, sought grave markers through the Veterans Administration, which promises a free marker for any veteran who still has a living relative or descendent to sign for it.

Serens’ great-great-grandson, Mike Unger of Standish, brought Serens’ original Civil War rifle and powderhorn to set at the gravesite for the ceremony, while the Sons of Union Veterans brought along a canteen and supply bag befitting that era.

Charity Shaffer, Caton’s great-great-granddaughter, came to the ceremony with her family from Custer. She told the Independent in April she was excited to finally find her ancestor, whose resting place had eluded her for 20 years before she was contacted by Matt.

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