"If you can't get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance"
-George Bernard Shaw

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Fort Custer National Cemetery,Augusta, Michigan

 During a recent trip to Battle Creek, Michigan, I found some time to take a tour of Fort Custer National Cemetery.  This is my first visit to a National Cemetery. 

The main entrance to the cemetery
 Ok, so I have to admit that I drove past the cemetery the first time without even seeing the road sign pointing out the cemetery entrance or this beautiful stone wall that marks the main entrance to the cemetery. 

Let me note here that yes, that is snow on the ground and yes it was very cold that day, so I have no close up headstone photos.  In fact many of my photos are taken out my car window. 

Close up of the emblem on the main entrance sign.

The Cemetery map

Coming in the main drive, there is this sign that has a layout of the entire cemetery.  I know we have a couple large cemeteries in Traverse City, but I think we could fit them all here in Fort Custer, together at one time. 
The map is nice to have and gives a good idea of the layout of the cemetery.

The main drive is also know as the Avenue of Flags and flags are flown, according to the pamphlet I picked up 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from around Easter time until after Veterans Day.  From the photos I have seen, it must be quite a sight to see all the flags up. Volunteer donation of flags are accepted for the flags on the poles and volunteers are used to maintain the flags and poles when they are flown. 

The main drive entering the cemetery standing next to the map pictured above.  The drive is also known as the Avenue of Flags. 

Gravesite locator kiosk

Ok, I admit that I was like a kid in a candy store at the Gravesite Locator.  This is the first time I have been to a cemetery with one of these, although I have heard that there are cemeteries that have them out there. 

I searched 4 surnames in my research.  Fitzgerald, Courtad, Loomis, and Lardie.  My search for Fitzgerald revealed 12 persons buried at Fort Custer, 0 for Courtad, 10 for Loomis and 0 for Lardie.  A search of Find A Grave at home revealed there are others with other surnames from my family also buried within the cemetery.

I must have been some sight standing there dressed up (we had a party a little later that afternoon) jumping up and down trying to stay warm while I waited for my print outs to finish.  There were also five different pamphlets available about the cemetery and about military funerals. 

The main flagpole

One of the bronze sculptures in the cemetery

The Forgotten 26
The forgotten 26 is a tribute to Germans  that have died in service to their country.  Of these particular Germans 16 of them died in a car accident when the truck they were in was hit by a train at an unguarded railroad crossing.  The other 10 died of various causes.  All were P.O.W.s  being held at Fort Custer. 
The Forgotten 26 dedication plaque

An annual ceremony is now held in honor of the German Veterans buried here. 

The cemetery overall was amazing to see.  I was awestruck by the beauty and the size of the cemetery.  it seems that only a small portion of the cemetery is used and much wooded property is still available for future use.  I felt a great sense of pride in the military men and women buried here. 

For more info and history you can visit the Fort Custer Cemetery website


  1. I live in Battle Creek and there is more snow on the ground today. I have attended a service at the Cemetery, they do an excellent job. I was very moved. It is a true treasure in the area.

  2. There is a lot more snow there today! I live in Battle Creek. Fort Custer is a wonderful treasure for our area. I have attended a memorial service there, they do a terrific job. The cemetery is always in immaculate condition. The flags flying are wonderful, too.

  3. I would believe it! We have a lot of snow up here too now! I plan to be back sometime this summer to be able to spend more time there. AND be there when it's a little bit warmer.