Yesterday, my husband and I directed a funeral for a young man in an Historical Texas Cemetery. We arrived for the committal service one hour before the scheduled start time. Our service set up was accomplished quickly, so we began looking at the grave markers within the cemetery.
Old Liberty Cemetery received Texas historical status in part by containing “Veterans, both men, and women, of six wars…The War of 1812, the Blackhawk War, the Civil War, the Spanish American War, and World Wars I and II.” (State Historical Marker, 1997) In walking the cemetery, I found markers from later wars as well.
Old Liberty Cemetery is a very old cemetery. Unfortunately, ancient cemeteries sometimes suffer from low funding, and therefore, fall into a state of low maintenance. As my husband and I walked the cemetery and photographed the historical Veteran markers, we noticed that many of them stood in need of maintenance and repair. Stones dating so far back in history may no longer have family members who are aware of their relation to them, or family members who may not be physically able to maintain them.
There are sometimes groups who will organize a service project for cemeteries. Scout troops, churches, and historical organizations will often select a cemetery to scrub and level stones in need of maintenance. It is not necessary, however, to belong to an organized group to render such a needed service to great American heroes. My husband and I plan to return to Old Liberty Cemetery this weekend. We will scrub and remove debris from the gravestones of our nation’s heroes who rest there.
If you find yourself in a cemetery that has American Veteran’s gravestones in need of maintenance, you might consider rendering this service. It is a good idea to notify the cemetery sexton of your intentions. He or she will advise you of acceptable maintenance methods and available times for your service. Depending on the size of the project, you might even consider organizing a work party for the event. If you would like to join a group or organize one, I have found that the website, aptly named, “JustServe.org” is a wonderful resource.
Rendering service is uniquely American. No other nation compares to the American standard of offering humanitarian aid, assistance, and rendering service to those in need. The American military is very often the means by which this aid, assistance, and service are delivered to other nations. If you find it in your heart to give back to those who have served and protected our nation, and who may have likewise rendered service abroad, consider dedicating your weekend to veteran gravestone maintenance. It will be a worthwhile use of your time.
My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am the owner and Managing Funeral Director at Queen City Funeral Home in Queen City Texas. I am an author, syndicated columnist, and certified grief counselor. I write books and weekly bereavement articles related to understanding and coping with grief. I am the American Funeral Director of the Year Runner-Up and recipient of the BBB’s Integrity Award. I deliver powerful messages and motivate audiences toward positive recovery. It is my life’s work to comfort the bereaved and help them live on.
For additional encouragement, read other articles or watch video “Grief Briefs,” please go to my website at www.MourningCoffee.com.