Cemetery tour aims to honor and preserve history

Cemetery tour aims to honor and preserve history
(Source: KLTV staff)

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - There are 39 World War I veterans buried at the Oakwood Cemetery in Smith County.

To honor those who fought, the cemetery's restoration committee is sharing their stories during the annual, Spirits of Oakwood Historic Walking Tour.

For the last 14 years, the committee has shared the story of many of those buried at the historic cemetery during the annual walking tour.

This year's tour, which is happening on Saturday, March 24 will highlight individuals that served the country from 1914 through 1918.

"Being the anniversary of the end of World War One, we are highlighting World War one Veterans," said Reagan.

During the week, volunteers have been preparing to welcome hundreds of attendees who will walk the cemetery's ground, and stop at 8 selected tombstones to hear how these individuals contributed to WWI.

Reagan says researching and sharing these stories is how they are doing their part to preserve East Texas history.

"It's a beautiful cemetery," said Reagan. "There is artwork on the monuments, and a lot of time I tell people it's like an outdoor museum. "During the tour, volunteers dressed in period outfits will share stories of the veteran while visiting their tombstone.

Reagan says many markers and monuments have been damaged or with age have faded. The committee fears that names, words and other information on tombstones could potentially be lost.

"The markers are considered private property and the City [of Tyler] cannot touch them, but we as a committee can," said Reagan.

The money raised with the tour's admission fee will go toward the funding of the preservation of the markers.

Reagan says their biggest goal is for people to know that there is rich history all around East Texas.

"There is a lot of history, a lot of learning and that is one of the reasons why we like to tell it. So, history is not lost," said Reagan.

The tours are on Saturday, March 24, 2018.They will start at 1 p.m. with a new tour starting every 10 minutes.

The last tour of the day will start at 4:30 p.m. and the cost is $10 per person.

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