The tale of two footstones

Norwalk, Connecticut has the distinction of being the hometown of two Congressional Medal of Honor recipients. The first was PFC John D. Magrath, 10th Mountain Division, in World War II. The second was PFC Daniel J. Shea, Americal Division, 196th Infantry Brigade, in Vietnam. This is the story of PFC Shea’s footstone.

PFC Shea is buried in St. John’s Cemetery, Richards Avenue, Norwalk, Connecticut. Back in August 2020, I attempted to get PFC Shea’s VA-provided footstone replaced. It had fallen into awful condition by either vandals chipping off pieces of it, lawnmower damage, etc. My position was this wasn’t acceptable for a Medal of Honor recipient. I filled out VA Form 40-1330, coordinated it with the cemetery, and sent it off to the VA.

This was the condition of the footstone in 2020. I sent pictures of it as part of a cover letter with the application to replace the stone. I thought visual evidence would help make my point. As bureaucracy goes, the application was declined because “the inscription is still legible.” I was incredibly disappointed as were the veteran organizations in town who were following the progress of this story.

I had an opportunity to stop by the cemetery this week, and sure enough, the footstone has been replaced. The same day I discovered this, I contacted PFC Shea’s brother, Dennis, and sent pictures with a note about how grateful I was to see a proper footstone. He shared with me that his brother-in-law and sister-in-law were the force behind getting the stone replaced. Many thanks to them. The result:

As it should be…


Published by jeffd1121

USAF retiree. Veteran advocate. Committed to telling the stories of those who died while in the service of the country during wartime.

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