Samuel Iredell Parker monumentVietnam Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Col. Joe Marm, left, salutes during the unveiling of the monument to World War I hero and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Lt. Col. Samuel I. Parker. The ceremony was held on Veterans Day at the Oakwood Cemetery in Concord, GA to honor the local hero.  

Most highly decorated WWI American soldier receives monument

By Victoria Young
via the Independent Tribune newspaper (NC) web site 

The most highly decorated American World War I soldier was buried in Oakwood Cemetery in 1975 with a small marker that barely noted his time in service.

Samuel Iredell ParkerSamuel Iredell ParkerThis Veterans Day, American Legion Post 51 unveiled a monument to mark Lt. Col. Samuel I. "SI" Parker's grave and note his awards and how he got them.

The Legion annually puts American flags on all veterans' graves in Oakwood Cemetery for Veterans Day. Last year, someone in the group noticed Parker's plot and decided to do some research.

Admittedly, his grave had been overlooked in the past simply because it was so plain, said Legion Rider Chairman Jack Ward. But the Legion uncovered that the Concord cemetery was the final resting place of a highly decorated hero.

Ward said that once the Legion Riders heard about Parker, they immediately wanted to help. They spent months collecting funds for the monument and also worked with the city of Concord to find out what steps they needed to take to make it a reality. The city also contributed to the funds.

"We said we have a Medal of Honor recipient," Ward said of the riders' enthusiasm. "We have got to make something happen."

Parker was born in Monroe in 1891 and went to college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While he did receive his degree, it was briefly disrupted when he was called to service in 1917 when the United States entered the war.

He was later presented the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1936 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt for his service. But that was just one in a long list of his commendations. Parker also received the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, along with his Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, among others. 

The Legion also worked with Parker's family to not only get permission to place the monument but to learn more about him.

Ed and Sam Moss, Parker's grandchildren, were present at the unveiling Thursday.

Ed said he was grateful to the Legion for its work on the monument.

"It is all about the American Legion and the Riders," Ed said. "They were the ones who wanted to do this. It is wonderful to see veterans pulling together and wanting to honor others."

Read the entire article on the Independent Tribune web site.

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