I hope that each of you reading this article has had the opportunity to read Russell Payne’s article in the December 16, 2021, Liberty Vindicator. The editor did a wonderful job in bringing the focus and mission of Operation Blue Remembrance together and presenting it to the public. You can read deeper into our goals and travels on our website at operationblueremembrance.com.
That being said, what follows is the beginning of a number of articles following my journeys and explorations in the name of locating all graves of Texas Peace officers who have been killed in the line of duty. I won’t regale you with the beginnings of our organization, that was covered in the aforementioned article by Mr. Payne. I will explain to you how a Memorial Trip begins and follow through with you during the extent and ultimate conclusion of the trip. Just keep in mind, this is one trip of many across our great state and five others in search of the final resting places of Texas’ finest.
Our next Memorial Trip is set to begin on January 12, 2022. I choose the towns geographically, trying to cram in as many towns as possible in the brief time I have to make the trip. Unfortunately, even as a native Texan, I do not know where all of these towns are. I begin with a known location close to my starting point (Liberty) and make a loop to maximize the number of towns with the fewest miles. This trip will begin in Rosenberg with Davis-Greenlawn Cemetery. Unfortunately, all monuments are flat in that cemetery, and there are about 13,000 graves. I will definitely seek help from the office for locations.
Fortunately, with the Find A Grave site, it is possible to view a picture of most of the graves. Then, by clicking on the cemetery’s name, it will tell you the approximate size. Sometimes it is difficult to locate the grave within the cemetery. Any site that does not have a marker or is unknown, I put that on a different worksheet and will return after more research. I don’t spend a whole lot of time looking. If there is an office on-site, it is my first stop. If not, I look at the age of the marker. If it is over 100 years old, there is normally an older section that is visible. And sometimes, the marker itself is distinctive. If there is a picture on a website of the marker, occasionally, you can see a landmark in the background, such as a driveway, or tree, or concrete borders. That helps orient the search. And, frequently, there will be grave locations with Section, Block, and Grave numbers. That really helps. I will explain more tricks to the trade as my journeys continue.
But each marker is a witness to history, not only the men or women who are resting beneath our feet but to the time in which they lived. Many are buried with family. Many are buried with a spouse. Many are buried alone. I have even had some buried in a Pauper’s Field, reflecting the low pay that officers received even in the past. There is such a variety of styles and designs that it is really quite interesting.
If you have any questions about our organization or methods of locating graves, please contact me at bertsims60@gmail. com. Or, if you don’t have a computer, write me at Operation Blue Remembrance, 7789 FM 563 Road, Liberty, Texas 77575.