WA Military Cemetery In Dire Straights Before Clean-Up
Bremerton, Washington (KOMO) A community near Seattle has answered the call for action.
Hundreds of volunteers came together to clean up a military cemetery.
Conditions at the cemetery were so bad that weeds covered the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
They toil in the heat—– most of it—– manual labor that takes a strong
Ivy Green Cemetery was in dire need of caring hands.
Veteran John Pursley exclaims, "I took my grandson here a couple years ago, I wanted to show him the tomb of the unknown, and I was really embarrassed."
Retired Marine John Pursley inspired this clean–up when he finally complained about the condition of Bremerton's memorial.
"Cuz everybody buried here is a better man than me" adds Pursley.
Pride. We should take care of our veterans.
Tall weeds... Moss and dirt... Over fading paint. And it wasn't just the tomb. Many of the other military grave markers were in equally bad shape... Some broken and toppled by vandals.
"I went from being sad, to ultimately mad."
Anger can be a powerful motivator.
When community activist Todd Best learned about Ivy Green Cemetery, he put out the call for help.
More than 200 people showed up.
Best says, "it overwhelms me. It overwhelms me right now talking to ya."
The first volunteer to arrive... Got here before Todd did.
And there was an elderly gentleman at the gate waiting to come in.
"This guy was a World War II Veteran, a Korean veteran. And he's walking with an oxygen container and he says how can I help Todd?" adds Best.
This is going far beyond a clean–up.
Organizers are raising money to renovate the entire tomb and surrounding grounds.
To create a sacred place... Worthy of those buried here.
"To the ones who have served I guess in a way letting them know they aren't forgotten either."