Hundreds volunteer, help cleanup Lincoln Memorial Cemetery on Hu - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Hundreds volunteer, help cleanup Lincoln Memorial Cemetery on Hunter Army Airfield

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

Saturday, the Lincoln Memorial Cemetery filled with volunteers with shovels in hand, but not to dig graves. To clean up.

What started with a Savannah mother taking her kids to lay flags on graves turned into not one but now two full day cleanups. 

When I say the grass was up to my waist when I came out here - you can imagine the work that needs to be done to get this cemetery where it needs to be. The problem is this is the second cleanup. The volunteers say they're a little frustrated the owner of this private cemetery and the city aren't taking more pride in this place where veterans are buried.

Lincoln Memorial Cemetery is on the Hunter Army Airfield base but it's privately owned by the Bynes Funeral Home. The owner did not want to speak about the condition of this cemetery and was not here for the first or second cleanup day.

The coordinator of all this, Misty Harvest, says this is unacceptable.

"I feel as though what was promised didn't happen and, meet me in the middle, and I didn't get that," said Harvest.

We asked the city what needs to be done to keep this cemetery clean and maintained..and it all comes down to this.

"The community needs to come on and help," said Alderwoman Estella Shabazz. "The funeral home owner, owners, need to get on their jobs about maintaining their properties. And taking care of this sacred place. This is not just any land. This is a sacred place."

A sacred place she says she will see will get taken care of. It's the law.

"There were agreements that were made with families at the time of funeral services. And those agreements are the law in which the funeral home is supposed to abide by," said Shabazz.

Veteran Darren Lewis says when he looks around him, it's heartbreaking.

"They're veterans," said Lewis. "They matter. A lot of people fought for their country."

Now he's fighting for someone to take care of this land.

"I think if the owner doesn't want to take care of it then sell it to someone who will," said Lewis.

Behind me, beside me and even above me on forklifts are almost 300 volunteers, some of them flying in just for the cleanup, coming from as far as Texas. They say this is near and dear to their heart, and if they don't finish Saturday they'll be back out Sunday or however long it takes to give back to these buried veterans.

"I will go to wherever I have to go, it doesn't matter. I'm not gonna stop," said Harvest.

These volunteers are not letting the heat get in the way of their hard work. They say the real price was paid by the men and women laid to rest around them.

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