Manton Veteran Memorial – Photos by Jennifer Ferreira
By Judy La Russa,
On July 14, 2018, during the annual Manton Day and Partonic Parade—a special veteran’s memorial, that includes military commemorative wall, honoree contribution wall, fallen soldier memorial, and new flagpole were also dedicated at the Manton Cemetery. The cemetery contains 108 military graves, including eight Civil War veterans.
A group of Manton community members—Tom Carrier, Tammy Graham, Randy Holbrook, Glenda Merritt Church and Pastor Mike and Gayle Stiener, spear-headed by native Sharlet Graham planned, prepared, fundraised, and constructed the dedicatory. After almost two years of hard work, with fundraising at an estimate of $20,000, in-kind donations, and countless hours of volunteer labor Graham’s concept became a reality.
The dedication began with a flyover by Jim Ostrich of Redding’s Benton Air Center flying in a 1943 U.S. Army Air Corps North American AT-6D. The Manton Cemetery Veterans Memorial Wall was then unveiled by members of the Red Bluff VFW Post 1932 and Anderson VFW Post 9650 Honor Guard presented colors and firing a 21-gun rifle salute while a vocalist Linda Jo Bennett sang “God Bless America”, the National Anthem and at the end of ceremony “Amazing Grace”. Wesley Bangs from the group “Haywire” gave a beautiful rendition of “Some Gave All.” The group performed at many benefit events raising funds for the project.
Sharlet, who has deep roots in Manton and family ties serving the military, spoke to the community assembled in front of the memorial by thanking those involved and about her grass root vision. She told the crowd how she came up with the memorial concept in 2008 before her father passed away. Knowing the challenge, his reply was “Good Luck!” “The cemetery is the crown jewel of Manton,” Graham said. “The people who are laid to rest in Manton are a chosen few.” Graham was quick to thank the many people who helped the project come to completion; “Every stone in our memorial was set with love, sweat, tears, blood and sometimes curse words,” Graham said before presenting a plaque to Tom Carrier, a retired PG&E engineer who headed up the construction. Other construction contributors are Minto General Contractor, Jim Minto and Zeke Carrier, Tom and Susie Carrier, Gabe, Jess, Tim Carrier, Brock Rickels, Thomas Alcala, and Mike Karry.
Graham later said in a phone interview that the project was fun, but a lot of work from a lot of dedicated people and feels that she does not deserve the credit. “Everyone thanks me for the project, but if it weren’t for people like Tom Carrier, who is a master craftsman it would not have been done. It took a village.” Other construction help included; Minto General Contractor, Jim Minto and Zeke Carrier; Tom and Susie Carrier, Gabe, Jess and Tim Carrier, Brock Rickels, Thomas Alcala and Mike Karry.
MORE MANTON HISTORY: Memorial visionary Sharlet Graham is decent from the Graham Manton frontier family.
In 1887, William and Mary Elizabeth Graham Bramlett donated the property where the Manton Cemetery is located. Mary Elizabeth’s father, William Hendrick Graham and his wife Sophronia first came to Manton between 1862-63, where Mary Elizbeth was born in 1863.
Sharlet’s grandfather, Lance Graham, was atop Lassen Peak when it erupted June 14, 1914, and six of his sons would serve in the military, five during World War II.