Almost 200 people volunteer to clean veterans' cemetery - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Almost 200 people volunteer to clean veterans' cemetery

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(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)
SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Close to 200 people showed up to Lincoln Memorial Cemetery on Saturday morning after seeing our story earlier this week concerning its conditions and a call for volunteers to help clean it up.

The cemetery is on Hunter Army Airfield. Here's the catch, it's privately owned. That means the airfield is not responsible for its upkeep.

Word got out that a cemetery where dozens of veterans are laid to rest was in bad shape.

"This made me feel sad that people don't take care of the graves. Like, we came here and some of them are broken. They have grass grown on top of them. They weren't even taking care of the trees, which are a part of nature,” said Brooklin Kellar, a volunteer.

That's a 10-year-old's reaction to the cemetery, but she wasn't alone. By 9:30 a.m., more than 130 people had already signed up to lend a hand.

"Just to walk in to a military cemetery and see it built up like this is horrifying. It really is. That's why we felt the need that we had to come out here and help,” said Ursula Holmes, with Kappa Epsilon PSI Military Sorority, Inc.

For people like Brenda Curtis-Johnson, the mission was personal. I caught her hugging the crew cleaning her son's grave after her emotions became too much to handle.

A group even drove hundreds of miles just to do their part.

"I was inspired because there's a cemetery in Miami named Lincoln Memorial Cemetery and it's in bad shape,” said Art Patterson, a volunteer who also cleaned the cemetery in Miami.

But despite the work that needed to be done, the 90-degree weather and the long hours. It is a mission everyone could agree on.

"It would be really hard to come out here and see it like this. t just kind of breaks your heart,” said Melissa Hurley, a volunteer.

"Children need to respect graves too, and they need to help other people to be respectful,” said Trinity Mook, another volunteer.

The cemetery dates to the 1800's before Hunter Army Airfield was even thought of. As the airfield grew, the cemetery fell in its shadow.

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