BURLINGTON, Vt. — Current and former military members spent their Saturday cleaning off the gravesites of fallen service members in Burlington.
Volunteers pulled weeds, cleaned dirt and planted new American flags around the final resting places of service members buried at New Mount Calvary Cemetery.
"Whether they died in war or made it back and passed away later on, they deserve respect from all of us," said Master Sgt. Mike Stanford from the 158th Security Forces Squadron. "If you look around the cemetery, there's a lot of flags out here," Stanford said. "That means there's a lot of people who have served in this community or for the community and may not have family members in the area."
The event was organized by members of the VFW Post 782 in Burlington. Their commander, Michelle Caver, said she hopes the event gives local vets and current service members a chance to make new friendships and discuss issues in their community such as veteran homelessness and mental health challenges. "It's a chance for us to just have a shared experience," she said. "Walk together, talk together, start to get to know one another a little better so we can all figure out how to take care of one another."
The volunteers also cleared off civilian gravesites. Caver said it was their way of serving the local community.