Hundreds of volunteers with the landscaping industry took time out of their day Monday to lend their talents to Arlington National Cemetery as part of the Renewal and Remembrance project. Even in the midst of this heat wave, volunteers said it was an honor to help. For them, the heat was no match. “The day is too big to worry about the weather,” said Brandon Sheppard, a volunteer who works for Weed Man out of Winchester, Va.
The day was big in more ways than one: 400 volunteers working on more than 200 acres in a heat index that’s triple digits, all to honor the more than 400,000 heroes that are buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Those numbers are not lost on the volunteers from the National Association of Landscape Professionals.
“It’s an opportunity for members of the lawn care and landscaping industry to give back to those who gave so much to this country. It’s also an opportunity for someone who hasn’t served to serve those who have,” said Sheppard.
Some of them are veterans themselves, including Navy vet Roger Phelps, who also works for Stihl. “I’ve got shipmates that are here,” said Phelps. “I’ve got classmates that are here. I spent a little time with them, just to let them know I’m thinking of them.”
Those who paid the ultimate sacrifice were on the minds of everyone at the event. It’s why they were there mulching, mowing, treating the grass and working on more than 8,000 trees. Even those who are too young to really understand helped.
“(We are) planting flowers, I think some we are going to put in front of their graves,” said 11-year-old volunteer Olivia Bieber.
That’s part of the day, too: teaching. “We are able to share with the children. There isall sorts of service. I mean, there is absolutely military service and we honor that, but the service that their dads and their moms (are making), these young kids can learn from that as well,” stated Phelps.
In hopes of continuing the legacy this country was built on: service and sacrifice.
This is the 19th year for the event.
For more information about the day of Renewal and Remembrance, click here.