"You couldn't hardly see the stones," he says. "There was one piece of concrete sunk in, broke in half."
Upset, Leedom contacted Warr, telling him the setting was not suitable for a Medal of Honor recipient.
At about the same time, Jason Greene, a Marine reservist who served in Afghanistan, took part in a flag rededication ceremony at Linwood. He had no idea it was for a Medal of Honor recipient, let alone one who served in the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, as did Greene's father, Dale.
Davis' grave was full of weeds and vegetation, says Jason Greene. A wooden sign overlooking I-75 was in bad shape and letters spelling "USMC" had chipped paint. "It was a nightmare."
With those reports, the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines veterans group sprang into action.
Along with the Montford Point Marine Association, a national group primarily made up of African-American veterans, the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines veterans take part in twice-annual work parties at Linwood Cemetery, attracting workers from across the country.
They largely concentrate on Davis' resting place and surrounding graves, clearing weeds and tall grass.
The veterans group decided to replace the rundown, wooden sign with an enduring monument to Davis, says Warr, who lives in Hendersonville, North Carolina. He never personally knew Davis, having served in Vietnam after his death.
The Marines are giving $5,000, from dozens of donations totaling more than $80,000, to the Macon Cemetery Preservation Corp. for perpetual care of the monument and the surrounding area. Warr says his colleagues will continue their work parties.
The veterans group has also created a scholarship fund of $25,000, in Davis' memory that will benefit graduating Junior ROTC students in Bibb County, where Macon is.
It is helping deepen a bond between Davis' family and the veteran community, and fostering a renewed appreciation for Davis' heroism.
"I would like for his legacy to be one that people understand he gave his all for his country," says Debra Ray. "We as a family are all about service and education."
Howard Davis, another brother of Rodney, took part in a fund-raiser held by the veterans group for the scholarship, saying the event "was one of the proudest times of my life."
Saturday, family, veterans and others who have dedicated themselves to saving Linwood stood on the hillside with a couple hundred other people as cars flew by on I-75 below.
Leedom and Petrous, who fought with Davis, attended the dedication, which coincided with the Marine Corps' 237th birthday and was held the day before Veterans Day.
Color guards comprising Marine veterans and Junior ROTC students participated on a bright, sunny morning. After speeches, a moment of silence and a gun salute, the playing of Taps concluded the service.
"We have a duty to honor out fallen heroes," said Jim Dougherty, president of the 1/5 Vietnam Veterans Association.
Visitors to the site will be able to sit on four benches, reflecting on Davis' bravery and the text written on the lighted black and gray granite monument. The base and obelisk feature a likeness of Davis and an etching of a helmet, rifle and boots forming a cross.
One panel reads: "May this monument be a beacon of love that shines on all those who contribute to the many efforts needed to completely restore Linwood Cemetery."
"This can be a beautiful resting place for these 4,000 souls," Warr says.
Gordon Davis, who named a son Rodney, is grateful for what the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines veterans have done, but he and other family members still feel the pain, 45 years later.
"He was my little brother. If it was a dozen Medals of Honor, it wouldn't take the place of a brother."