Local World War II veteran buried without military headstone

Lieutenant Edward E. Barker was buried in the Calvary Cemetery in Herkimer in 2015. Three years later he still doesn't have a headstone or a military marker. For someone who served and died for their country, local veterans see this as an injustice and are working to correct it.

Posted: Aug 2, 2018 11:56 PM
Updated: Aug 3, 2018 10:57 AM

HERKIMER - Nearly 71 years after his fighter plane crashed in present-day Papua New Guinea during World War II, Lt. Edward F. Barker's remains were discovered and returned for burial in Herkimer in July of 2015.

Today, the only thing marking his grave is the flimsy plaque from the funeral home.

Two local veterans, Don Engelbrecht and Joseph Sweet, have come together to give him a proper grave, one he rightly deserves after sacrificing his life for this country.

"It's not right, he should have a headstone with his name, dates and everything, not just have a (plaque)," said Sweet. "It's sad."

"Lt. Barker passed 13 years before I was born," said Engelbrecht. "Time is irrelevant to me because a veteran is a veteran. We all share in that brotherhood, regardless of when we served.

Engelbrecht said he's reached out to local politicians like Assemblyman Mark Butler and Congresswoman Claudia Tenney to assist with their efforts.

A majority of Lt. Barker's family is deceased so Engelbrecht has taken it upon himself to be Barker's voice and give him a proper headstone. 

You can contact the Herkimer VFW at (315) 866-9353 for more information on how you can help.

Read more about Lt. Barker's story here: https://www.thestate.com/news/local/military/article29722840.html

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