Sunrise at Arlington National Cemetery is a special time. There is a beauty in it that is simple which is very appropriate for such a meaningful place. I have had the opportunity to view many sunrises there, even one from the Tomb of the Unknowns with only the Old Guard sentry as company. It is a time to reflect on the meaning of these grounds.
For the past ten years Allentuck Landscaping Co. has taken part in the Professional Landcare Network’s (PLANET) Renewal & Remembrance at Arlington National Cemetery, and for the last two years I have had the honor of serving as the event’s Chairperson. This year, we had nine of our team members participate.
I am grateful to be a part on an industry that has 450 people from 37 states fly in at their own expense, leaving their businesses behind to give sweat equity on a day that will long be meaningful in their memories. It is truly a day of selfless giving to those who gave all.
As a group we cared for turf, planted new gardens, pruned and protected old, established trees, repaired irrigation systems, in all, around $250,000 worth of landscaping with donated labor, equipment and materials was completed in one morning. Simply amazing. There was also a children’s program complete
with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns. I am glad that we are passing the importance of Arlington on to the next generation.
One of the highlights for me was finding what must be one of the oldest grave sites in Arlington. It was in Section 27 and was dated May 9, 1864, 150 years old, as is Arlington National Cemetery itself. I found special meaning in the fact that this was one of my great, great grandfather’s peers, who also happened to fight in the Civil War. I pondered for a moment what they would think of all this. Perhaps they even knew each other.
The day ended as it always does at Renewal and Remembrance; exhausted, sweaty, dirty and profoundly moved. The way all days should end.
To see more photos from this year’s Renewal & Remembrance at Arlington National Cemetery please visit our Facebook page by clicking here: