• Family says VA refuses to approve veteran's grave marker after records lost

    By: Berndt Petersen

    Updated:

    DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - A family says their late father proudly served his country right after the Korean War -- but the Department of Veterans Affairs is not giving him credit. 

    Channel 2's Berndt Petersen was in DeKalb County, where Horace Story was buried at the Floral Hills Memory Gardens in Tucker eight months ago.

    Story served for two years in the Army and another 10  in the Army Reserves, family members told Petersen. He died at 83. 

    Story's family has asked for an official military grave marker, but so far, the agency has refused.  

    The issue? Family members say Story's service record was destroyed in a fire at a government building in St. Louis in the 1970s. Story's records were destroyed, along with 18 million other military files, in the National Archives Fire of 1973.

    Petersen spoke to Story's son-in-law, Brian Ellix, who said Story deserves the honor and the family is heartbroken about the empty grave marker. 

    "It's hard when you see just an empty spot there, with no marker," Ellix said. "You feel like it's not complete."

    The family does have Story's official discharge papers, dog tags and uniform -- but officials still won't provide the marker, citing that they need proof of active service. 

    Ellix said they have sent letters and emails back and forth with the VA, but so far, they haven't gotten the marker they want. 

    "Until that marker is there, I hate to say, 'Rest in Peace,'" Ellix said, "But we need that closure. 

    A director of the cemetery said they plan to give the family a military marker and that they hope it will give the family the closure they need while they continue to work with the VA to get the credit they feel Story is due. 

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