Cemetery Stroll keeps veterans’ sacrifices alive

Grandview Cemetery in Fort Collins is the final resting place for more than 2,600 military veterans dating to the Spanish-American War and seven of their stories were retold by actors this year during the city’s 16th annual cemetery stroll.

Among them were two who gave their full measure in defense of freedom: George Beach and Alonzo Martinez, for whom a pair of local American Legion posts are named.

Beach, regarded as one of the most brilliant graduates of Fort Collins High School, was killed in a freak mid-air collision over Foggia, Italy, in 1918. He was the first Fort Collins man to die in service during World War I. American Legion George Beach Post #4 in LaPorte is named for him.

Martinez was born in Kersey and moved with his family to Fort Collins in 1935. Also a Fort Collins High School graduate, he was killed by machine gun fire in the Battle of the Bulge in January 1945. American Legion Alonzo Martinez Post #187 in Fort Collins carries his name.

Beach was portrayed by Fort Collins Senior Center employee Christian Hecker. Martinez was portrayed by his nephew Phillip Martinez. Other World War II veterans honored were Stewart Case, who also served in the Korean War, and Fran Thompson. Two Civil War veterans were portrayed: Union soldier John Mandeville, and James Fletcher, a Confederate vet. An actor also portrayed Richard Maxfield, who served during the Spanish-American War.

Proceeds from the Sept. 17 event will support programs provided by the senior center.

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