If you were to do one thing to honor our veterans, what would it be? Would you use your only day off to do it? Would you do it every day?
Veterans have long been a forgotten population in the United States of America, often returning home from service to little fanfare and even less support from the government. Many veterans struggle to transition back into civilian life, with some even facing crises like symptoms of mental health disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and homelessness. However, there are individuals like Andrew Lumish who are going above and beyond to make a difference in the lives of veterans.
Known as The Good Cemeterian, Lumish spends his Sundays cleaning the gravestones and monuments of “forgotten” veterans in cemeteries across Tampa, Florida. Lumish, who has restored over 600 graveyards to date, says it can take up to four months to restore a cemetery properly. He meticulously cleans every nook and cranny of the gravestones, even using cotton swabs to ensure that every little corner is spotless.
Lumish’s dedication to honoring veterans stems from his belief that every visitor to a cemetery should be able to read who is buried in each plot. He wants to make sure that veterans are not forgotten over time and that people are given a chance to celebrate their contributions to defending the United States from hate and terror. Lumish also has personal connections to veterans, including friends who served, lost their lives in battle or combat, or lost their battles after returning home.
“It’s important to me to see that they can be remembered and not forgotten,” Lumish told Great Big Story.
Florida is one of many states that do not offer much support to veterans, and the graveyards where veterans are buried are often ignored. This lack of support and attention for veterans is a problem that Lumish hopes to address through his work. His efforts have not gone unnoticed and have evolved into the nonprofit organization, “The Good Cemeterian Historical Preservation Project.” The organization aims to restore and honor the past through inspiration and education.
Lumish’s work is just one example of the many ways individuals are working to support veterans in the United States. Still, the country has a long way to go in terms of providing adequate support for veterans who have sacrificed so much for their country. It’s crucial that veterans receive the support they need to transition back into civilian life and that their contributions to the country are remembered and celebrated.
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