Acts of Kindness
Man spends only days off in gratitude cleaning tombstones of forgotten veterans
This is so inspiring. He does more than scrub their headstones every day he can. He shares the history of the vets who lie beneath the stones he cleans.
Cherie Gozon
11.23.21

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?

Pexels|Sharefaith
Source:
Pexels|Sharefaith

Of course, we have Veteran’s Day to celebrate our military in service and Memorial Day to remember those veterans who did while serving in the military.

We can also help support veterans and the families they left behind through various organizations. But there’s always more we can do.

It’s just a matter of finding out what it is.

One man cleans tombstones to show honor.

YouTube Screenshot|Great Big Story
Source:
YouTube Screenshot|Great Big Story

Andrew Lumish, also known as The Good Cemetarian, spends his Sundays cleaning and restoring graveyards of ‘forgotten’ veterans.

When you see cemeteries that have been neglected for so long, you’ll know what he’s doing is not an easy feat.

Situated in Tampa, Florida, there’s more than just mold and mildew on these tombstones. There are decades, in some cases centuries, of build-up to scrub through.

He’s a creative cleaner.

YouTube Screenshot|Great Big Story
Source:
YouTube Screenshot|Great Big Story

Nonetheless, this doesn’t stop Andrew from what he is doing. He uses different brushes (even QTips) to make every nook and cranny sparkly clean.

He said that a complete restoration would take 4 months. But for him, there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing these tombstones gleaming again.

Andrew has restored over 600 graveyards.

Read that again. That’s not just 600 tombstones, but entire graveyards! To say he’s a hard worker would be an understatement.

YouTube Screenshot|Great Big Story
Source:
YouTube Screenshot|Great Big Story

He said that it upsets him whenever he sees a monument of war veterans being neglected.

Most of the names are unreadable, and others have been knocked over and cracked from years of weather and neglect.

It’s essential people know who they were.

Andrew believes everyone who sets foot in a cemetery should be able to see who it was that was laid to rest after serving their country.

After all, these people fought for freedoms that we all enjoy today, including the freedom of history.

He thought that their only remembrance should not be left in such poor conditions.

So he posted each finished work.

Forgotten no more.

He doesn’t only take before-and-after shots of his current achievement.

He took things a step further by including information about the veteran buried beneath these tombstones.

More than their names, they tell their stories and the life they lived. He emphasizes how these fallen soldiers served and helped the country.

You can see full stories of these brave soldiers on his Instagram page. Some died young; some lived difficult lives, while some were someone’s parent or child.

All heroes worthy of remembrance.

For Andrew, this is also a personal journey.

YouTube Screenshot|Great Big Story
Source:
YouTube Screenshot|Great Big Story

“I have friends who served, friends who had lost both in battle and combat, and friends who lost their battle once they came back home. It’s important to me to see that they can be remembered and not forgotten,” he told Great Big Story.

Because of Andrew’s efforts, people were inspired to help him out.

YouTube Screenshot|Great Big Story
Source:
YouTube Screenshot|Great Big Story

His simple initiative grew to become a non-profit organization called “The Good Cemeterian Historical Preservation Project.”

They aim to ‘restore and honor the past through inspiration and education.’

It’s inspired others to restore, too.

YouTube Screenshot|Great Big Story
Source:
YouTube Screenshot|Great Big Story

They believe they can continue to honor the lives these veterans lived by restoring their final resting places, and that making it gleam and shine again is the best way to honor that.

Learn more about the Good Cemeterian in the videos below!

You can help their cause by donating here.

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

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By Cherie Gozon
hi@sbly.com
Cherie Gozon is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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