ARLINGTON, Va. — Hundreds of landscapers from across the country gathered at Arlington National Cemetery on Monday to volunteer their time to spruce up the grounds.
They are doing work on the grass, soil, trees and irrigation systems.
“This is really an honor,” said Missy Henriksen, a spokeswoman with the National Association of Landscape Professionals. “People feel very reflective and proud of the work they are doing.”
The crew includes 400 landscape and lawn care professionals and many of their relatives, coming from more than 30 states. Many of the workers are veterans themselves.
“As stewards of these hallowed grounds, it is our honor and privilege to ensure the meticulous upkeep of the cemetery,” the cemetery’s acting superintendent, Katharine Kelley, announced to the crew.
The workers will add phosphorus to 95 acres of turf, which provides macro-nutrients that support root growth. They will also aerate 50 acres of turf, opening soil up to air, water and nutrients. Other projects include adding an assortment of plants, installing and repairing irrigation systems and reinforcing and preserving historic trees using tree cabling.
“Having a chance to demonstrate your gratitude is a really cool thing,” said Phil Fogarty, with the Ohio company Weed Man.
“We love the fact that we can tell the families and the friends of those that made the ultimate sacrifice that no matter how many years go by, there are people that are going to remember that and be grateful for it,” he added.
The annual event called Renewal & Remembrance is in its 20th year. It began with only 50 volunteers.