You’ve got to be able to read it: an amazing way to honor forgotten veterans

For most people, their days off are just that: days off. As much as possible, people like to spend those days relaxing or having fun. It’s a chance to recharge the batteries and hopefully let some of the stress from the workweek dissipate.

Andrew Lumish of Florida spends his days off in a highly unusual way. He’s in the business of specialized cleaning, especially upholstery and carpets. On his days off, he’s also cleaning but this time it’s stone: tombstones and monuments at cemeteries. This isn’t work he’s paid for, he does it on his own initiative and on his own time.

It all began when Lumish visited a cemetery and noticed that there were quite a few tombstones that had been neglected for ages. In many cases, they were so blackened by dirt and grime that the inscriptions were completely illegible. Some of these tombstones were for military veterans and that’s when it hit him: how can you honor a hero if you can’t even see his name? So he made it his mission to clean and restore tombstones so that people can discover the person and story the stone represents. As you’ll see in the video posted below, this isn’t just a quick hosing-off: Lumish is meticulous and can make a century-old monument look brand new.

Another important part of Lumish’s work is the Facebook page he maintains called “The Good Cemeterian.” He posts information about the veterans, their portraits, and before-and-after photos of their tombstones. It’s a way to honor them and also spread the word. As he says of cleaning the tombstones, “If they can’t read it at all, they can’t celebrate it, they can’t honor that person, they can’t appreciate that person. Whereas if you properly restore the monuments, you can begin an entire conversation, potentially — in a figurative sense — bring that person back to life.”

What do you think of this unique way of honoring our veterans? We’d love to hear from you in the comments at Facebook. Don’t forget to like and share!