A Florida man has been started in honor of deceased veterans in a special way: by scrubbing clean their cemetery headstones.
Andrew Lumish has cleaned approximately 600 veterans-headstones-to-date, according to NPR. He said that he decided to restore the stone as a sign of admiration and to learn about the lives of the veterans.
“In the beginning was the respect for those who served to preserve our rights to everything we do today, and all of our freedoms,” he said. “On a personal level, I have friends that served that are not per se. Some who have died, and some who suffer the consequences of the war”.
Yesterday, Memorial Day Monument restoration for the hero Oshie James Martin, who on July 11, 1944 died during the fighting in France during the second world WAR .. pic.twitter.com/PRtW27qG9I
— Andrew Lumish (@GoodCemeterian1) 30 May 2017
Lumish is not a veteran, but he is the owner of a cleaning company.
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Accordingly, he said that he knew that he could help improve the look of the tombstones after seeing a series of the stones are in bad shape, while taking photos in a cemetery. “If you’re just walking or driving by, you would just a weathered, very dirty monument and have no idea who it was,” he said.
That was five years ago.
Now, every Sunday Lumish heads out of the cleaning of the gravestones of Florida’s military veterans. He brings about 25 litres of water, a series of brushes and an environmentally friendly detergent to get the stones back in shape.
And his project has discovered a series of interesting tidbits, including a civil war veteran who was wounded in the Battle of Shiloh and a 21-year-old whose gravestone reads: “You have died for the world, but not for your parents.”
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The cleaning process, Lumish said above, the last four days to four months, depending on how dirty the stone is. Due to the nature of limestone and sandstone, it takes time for the baked-in organic matter to break away. Granite and marble headstones are easier to clean, Lumish said, because the dirt is mostly on the surface.
The effort, he said, is “pretty messy” but well worth it as part of an effort to keep the memories of the veterans in your life.
“We discover heroes,” he told NPR. “They were not regarded as heroes of the day, so I hope that some of the stories that I tell people to appreciate the men and women who serve at this time. There are heroes of today, who surround us on a daily basis.”