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Polished Brass

June 2024
1min read

On August 2, 1905, Pvt. John Yates of the 4th Calvary—stationed then at Wawona (now within Yosemite National Park, California)—drowned while trying to save Mary Garrigan, who had fallen into Yosemite Creek. He is buried in Wawona Pioneer Cemetery with early residents of the area.

Through the years, Albert Gordon, a fourth-generation Wawonan and descendant of a Forty-niner, attempted to have the neglected cemetery shown respect and kept free of debris. When the officials of the National Park Service finally decided to dedicate the cemetery in 1993, Albert wrote to General Sullivan about possible Army participation. The general responded with a heartwarming letter and promised to send a color guard from the Fourth Cavalry. On Dedication Day these men, with Capt. John L. Gifford in charge, made a most impressive show that we all watched with pride and gratitude.

So it was with delight and further gratitude that I read the interview with General Sullivan in your December issue: it is a fine portrait of a lovely man who implemented a lovely deed.

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