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Local historian identifies unknown soldiers | Community Spirit

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Local historian identifies unknown soldiers
Local historian identifies unknown soldiers

MARIETTA, Ga. -- Every Memorial Day, hundreds of people pack into Marietta National Cemetery to show their respect for the American heroes who paid the ultimate price.

Unfortunately, out of the 18,000 gravestones, about 3,000 are marked with numbers or simply say "Unknown."

But one man has made it his mission to give names to Marietta's unknown soldiers.

Brad Quinlin, a research historian, spends his spare time identifying the men who don't have names on their tombstones. He says he does it out of a passion for history and understanding of sacrifice.

"These men not only gave their lives as a gift to us, but they've remained in unknown graves," he said. "And shouldn't we at least, having the freedom, be able to have the opportunity to identify as many as possible?"

Quinlin identified two Civil War soldiers this weekend, just in time for Memorial Day. This brings his total to 45.

Steve Deal was shocked to learn that he had a relative buried in the cemetery.

"To have Brad Quinlin find my great-great-grandfather's headstone -- it's amazing," Deal said.

Learn more about Quinlin's work at www.tolearnyourhistory.com.

Memorial Day celebrants began filing into Marietta National Cemetery early this morning. As the noon commemoration approached, members of the Patriot Guard Riders lined the driveway, welcoming everyone to the event.

Governor Nathan Deal made an appearance, giving thanks to the brave men and women who have fought in every major U.S. conflict, from the American Revolution to the War in Iraq.

Over the weekend, 1,500 local Boy Scouts placed flags at every headstone and saluted the fallen soldiers -- a tradition they have sustained since 1946.

Marietta Deals