Volunteers needed to help clean up veterans' graves for Memorial - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Volunteers needed to help clean up veterans' graves for Memorial Day weekend

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Veterans’ graves at Eastern Cemetery are hidden below high grass and weeds, but a non-profit group is doing what is can to clean the cemetery up for Memorial Day weekend.

All day Friday, you could hear the sounds of weed whackers, lawn mowers and chain saws as volunteers with Friends of Eastern Cemetery covered nearly 30 acres.

“When they first started working on it, it was literally like a jungle,” said Stefanie Buzan a member of the Friends of Eastern Cemetery board of directors.

The cemetery was abandoned in the 1980s when it was revealed multiple people were buried in single graves.

For the last five years, Friends of Eastern Cemetery has been doing its best to keep the property in shape, especially around Memorial Day.

“There are about 1,000 veterans buried here at Eastern Cemetery,” Buzan said.

The group says the veterans at Eastern deserve just as much respect as the veterans buried right next door at Cave Hill Cemetery.

Once all the veteran tombstones are uncovered from the grass and weeds, a flag will be placed at each one on Sunday.

“It's very disheartening for people to come out to the cemetery, and the grass is so tall they have a hard time finding their loved one,” Buzan said.

The weather has played a major role in preventing cleanup efforts. Storms this week knocked down a giant tree at the entrance, and all the rain has caused the grass to grow at least four-feet tall in some places.

“We need all the help we can get this weekend to uncover all the veterans’ headstones so we can put flags out this Sunday,” said Amy Wright, secretary of Friends of Eastern Cemetery.

“We definitely need more volunteers if people have time,” Buzan said.

“They're invited out," Wright added. "Don't do nothing because you think you can only do a little. Every little bit is a lot to us."

If you’d like to help clean up the cemetery on Saturday, organizers said all you have to do is show up and they’ll put you to work. Cleanup will be happening all day Saturday at Eastern Cemetery at 641 Baxter Avenue in Louisville.

If you would like to help place American flags at veteran grave sites, that begins at 12:30 p.m. Sunday.

Friends of Eastern Cemetery is also encouraging people to adopt portions of the cemetery to keep up. So far, four sections have been adopted. For more information, you can contact the nonprofit at info@friendsofeasterncemetery.com

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