Grave Robbers Target American Soldiers

Rebekah Rae

Grave Robbers Target American Soldiers

CREATED Jul. 4, 2013

Omaha NE - On the day our nation celebrates its independence, some veterans are having a hard time celebrating.  Someone is dishonoring fallen soldiers and robbing graves.

Athelstan Mack visited his brothers grave at Forest Lawn Cemetery in June and noticed an American Legion Plaque was missing.  The plaque had been given to his family during a funeral service in 1978 and he says since the funeral, the marker had never been touched.  His family proudly displayed the plaque in front of the soldiers gravestone.  Mack, in shock, looked around at other graves and noticed, more grave markers were missing. 
Mack addressed the theft to the cemetery office, it was too late and nothing could be done. 
Mack re-visited Forest Lawn on Independence day.  This time, American flags decorated gravestones in respect for fallen veterans.  The bronze grave marker was still missing.  Mack doesn't know who stole the bronze but thinks it was taken for scrap metal.  
The veterans service offices of Douglas county gives every soldier honorably discharged from the military a bronze American Legion grave marker when they die.  If a marker is ever stolen or damaged, the family must pay to have it replaced.  Cemeteries suggest removing the markers after major holidays to prevent theft.  
Army veteran Bob Podany dedicated his life to service.  On Independence day,  he proudly wears his army uniform.  He's buried his fellow veterans at Forest Lawn and understands the honor in an American Legion star.   "If our veterans thought the same way back then and were greedy, we wouldn't have this country today," cries Podany.  
The Army veteran became overwhelmed with sadness as he learned the news of the grave thefts.  "Stolen, for the bronze!  Good God, what is this country coming to?" shouts Podany.  He knows the people he fought to keep free are the same ones robbing his friends of their honor.