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Daughter of fallen veteran fought for father's honor at national cemetery

After working to get her father buried in Arlington National Cemetery, she finds peace now while visiting his grave.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — Lamonda Williams and her mother know the price of war.

Her father, Lamar Williams, died in Vietnam while serving in the U.S. Army. She was only 11-months-old when he died. 

He received a Purple Heart, and he could have been buried at Arlington National Cemetery. However, because of a technicality, he wasn’t.

Instead, in the 1970’s, Lamar Williams was buried in the Woodlawn Cemetery in St. Augustine. It was a cemetery for Black people at the time. A place that decades later became overgrown and forgotten.

But Lamonda Williams had not forgotten. 

She fought through bureaucratic red tape for a year and a half, and she finally saw her father’s body reburied in Arlington National Cemetery in 2019. 

To watch the story from 2019, showing the Lamar Williams burial at Arlington National Cemetery, click here. 

And now, "I go to the grave on a consistent, regular basis," Lamonda Williams beamed. "I Facetime my mom and my aunt so they can be there virtually. I go all the time!"

She came from New Jersey to be at the Veterans Day Ceremony in St. Johns County Thursday.  She was able to meet some of the people who helped her in her father’s journey to honor.

"It was important for me to be here to represent my father," Williams said, "and to meet Bill Dudley and John Leslie in person.  They’re big advocates of my father."

Williams also wants to find ways to help other families who have loved ones in shabby graveyards.

"If they find themselves in the same situation," Williams said, "there is hope and opportunity for your loved one to receive what they are rightfully due."

For Williams,  every day is a day to honor veterans. Knowing her father is in a place of honor and in a place she can feel comfortable visiting brings peace.

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