The Two Secret Graves of Camp Grayling, Michigan
What’s the secret that sits snugly in the woods on top of Mount Franklin in Camp Grayling?
The graves of two former privates, sitting together in a fenced-off area, away from prying eyes and the public…it is believed to be the smallest military cemetery in the United States.
The men in question were two soldiers from the 125th Infantry Regiment: PFC John Conroy who died in 1927 and PVT. George Laine, who passed away in 1939. These are the only two buried here. No others have been accepted ever since Laine died.
People wonder about these two secluded graves. Are they away from public viewing for a reason? Did the two soldiers die under mysterious circumstances? Were their deaths supposed to be covered up? No to both.
According to dvidshub.net, Conroy was only 25 years old when he died due to pneumonia in 1927. He became the first soldier to be buried on top of that hill, although he wasn’t the first to die in that camp.
Laine met his doom in the neighboring Frog Lake. An accident caused his drowning death on July 14, 1939. He became the second and last person to be buried on that little patch of land. As to why they were buried here and not with their families? That is unknown. The camp simply found a serene, peaceful & beautiful spot on top of a hill with a great view to put their comrades to rest.
As the years wore on, so did the soldiers of Camp Grayling. They were discharged and went on with their lives, most forgetting about the resting places of Conroy and Laine. Old-timers passed away, taking the knowledge of the graves with them. The graves remained, sat quietly alone in the woods, neglected, forgotten, and overgrown.
Then, in the 1950s, a captain happened to be in that wooded area on a training maneuver and stumbled across these two odd graves hidden out in the countryside. Thanks to this man, the information on the two burials were found and the area began a renovation, with caretakers fixing up the landscape.
New grave markers were made for Conroy & Laine in 1958 and the two men were given a special service on Memorial Day of that year.
A tiny non-national, military cemetery, it is not accepting other burials or ‘residents’.
I hope it stays that way and keeps its reverence.
The Secret Graves of Camp Grayling
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