In a story of respect and honor, the bronze grave marker of veteran Samuel Rettie, which mysteriously vanished from Oakland Cemetery in Yonkers, found its way back home on Veterans Day.
With the plaque missing, fears grew that it would be sold due to its valuable metal content. However, a local resident discovered it beside a dumpster near Top Class Limousine in Yonkers during the summer. John Khader, the owner of the establishment, immediately recognized its significance. He promptly had the plaque cleaned and restored. Then, he embarked on his own mission to reunite it in its rightful place.
Calling in reinforcements
Khader’s commitment to preserving history led him to enlist the help of his longtime friend, Sam Riti. Riti is the Post 40 AMVETS Commander in Yonkers. Before long, Riti traced the plaque back to Oakland Cemetery in Yonkers.
The plaque honored Samuel Rettie, an immigrant from Scotland who served in the New York National Guard in 1916 during World War I. He became a carpenter, grew a large family that continues its service in education and nursing. Dave Rettie, one of Samuel Rettie’s 10 grandchildren, expressed his gratitude.
Speaking from my family, we really appreciate that. It really makes you believe in people again.
The plaque’s return not only preserves a piece of history, but also underscores the power of upholding the values that define America. “They saved history,” remarked Dave Rettie.
AMVETS Commander Sam Riti plans to reinstall the plaque at Oakland Cemetery immediately and cover any related costs. And both the plaques saviors, Riti and Khader, are grateful they were able to help.
I am so happy that we were able to restore the plaque to its rightful owner and may Samuel Rettie continue to rest in peaceJohn Khader
As the community rallies around this act of patriotism, the return of the plaque highlights the importance of the holiday which exists to respect and show gratitude towards those who have served.