During the week of Veterans Day, the graves of Veterans who died between 1775 and 2019 will be honored with appropriate flags in the churchyard at Trinity Church on the corner of Church and Spring Streets in Newport.
“Several years ago, a visitor remarked, rather disparagingly, that Trinity Church didn’t recognize veterans by putting flags on their graves,” said Charlotte Johnson, who manages guided tours of the church that was built in 1726 by Anglicans. “I doubt they realized our veterans are mostly from the Revolutionary War – and they fought on both sides.”
The remark inspired Johnson to consult with church historian, John Hattendorf, to identify veterans’ graves and to place appropriate flags on each one for this Veterans Day.
Accordingly, British flags will be placed on four graves. Seven Patriots who fought on the American side will be honored with Betsy Ross flags, while the French Royalist Naval flag, under which Admiral de Ternay sailed to Newport with over 5,000 troops to help secure our freedom from British rule, will adorn the Admiral’s grave along with the two recently-dedicated markers for French officers whose original 1780 markers were lost over time. Like a majority of the stones in the North portion of Trinity’s churchyard, these new markers were carved at the centuries-old John Stevens Shop here in Newport.
The Stars and Stripes as we know it today will be placed on six graves of Navy and Marine veterans — three of whom died between 1807-1845, and three others who died between 1992-2019 and whose remains rest in columbaria in the southwest portion of the churchyard.
Flags will be displayed for Veterans Day for one week from Sunday, November 7 to Sunday, November 14.