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Volunteers clean veterans’ gravestones at Rice Cemetery

Published: May. 1, 2021 at 11:55 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - The Elkhart Marine Corps League and other volunteers spent Saturday afternoon cleaning veterans’ gravestones at Rice Cemetery.

“The cemetery director asked if we could get the ones that are at the entrance done before the Memorial Day holiday. I knew I couldn’t do that alone, so I mentioned something to the Elkhart area Marines...local attachment to the Marine Corps League and they got behind it, excited about it and so we have been turning out the last several weeks when the weather permits and cleaning headstones,” says Brad Ulich, a member of the Elkhart Marine Corps League.

Some of the headstones had not been cleaned in decades, and it took a good 20 minutes just to clean one headstone.

“The only chemical that the cemetery association allowed is called D2 biological solution. It’s what they use at Arlington and all the national cemeteries,” Ulrich said.

They scrubbed away and removed all the growth.

“And one of the things we do is say the veterans name. Some of these veterans probably haven’t had their name mentioned in years. So we make sure to speak their name and thank them for what they did,” Ulrich said.

“It’s a rewarding thing because we are taking pause to remember these people,” Joe Reed, another Elkhart Marine Corps League member, chimed in.

The Elkhart Marine Corps League plans to keep this going.

“Once the cemetery is completed we will go on to the next city cemetery,” Reed said.

It’s just one way to honor those who served our great country.

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