News & Opinion | May 27, 2019 1:57 pm

The Mysteries of a Tiny Michigan Military Cemetery

Is This the Nation’s Smallest Military Cemetery?

Camp Grayling
Camp Grayling, Michigan
Camp Grayling

Spread out over 1000 acres, the Hanson Hills Recreation Area in Grayling, Michigan is home to facilities for numerous summer and winter sports. From softball to downhill skiing, the space has been a destination for countless residents of northern Michigan seeking a respite from their everyday activities.

But this expansive park also holds a more somber side. It contains what may be the smallest military cemetery in the United States: a fenced-off area holding the remains of Private First Class John A. Conroy, who died in 1927, and Private George A. Laine, who died in 1939. Both men served in the Michigan National Guard’s 125th Infantry Regiment. Photographs of the cemetery reveal a small space with two gravestones and an American flag flying between them.

The Ticker, a news site based in nearby Traverse City, explored the history of this unlikely space. After Laine’s burial, the report reveals, the gravesites were largely left alone for several decades until a soldier training at nearby Camp Grayling discovered the cemetery. As The Ticker reports:

Captain Garland “Bud” Joyce was on a training mission when he found the cemetery, and the camp started taking regular care of it, according to Command Sgt. Major Harold “Tike” Golnick  who served as Camp Grayling’s post sergeant major from 1985 to 1990 and was responsible for maintaining the miniature cemetery.

The cemetery still contains a few mysteries, however: “There doesn’t seem to be any documentation why the cemetery was established or why that particular site was chosen, according to a letter from camp officials to Hanson Hills Director of Operations Justin Andre,” the article states. Perhaps at some future date, the answers to those questions will be revealed. For now, this quietly somber resting place remains a tranquil space for those wishing to pay their respects.

Editor’s Note: RealClearLife, a news and lifestyle publisher, is now a part of InsideHook. Together, we’ll be covering current events, pop culture, sports, travel, health and the world. Subscribe here for our free daily newsletter.