Hundreds of landscape professionals joined forces Monday to beautify Arlington National Cemetery, the final resting place for hundreds of thousands that served in the U.S. military.
The event, organized by the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP), attracted 400 landscape professionals who volunteered from across the country. This Monday, July 11, marked the 20th anniversary of Renewal & Remembrance Day, an annual event held to “honor America’s veterans and leaders and to assist in keeping beautiful some of our nation’s most sacred grounds,” according to the NALP website.
“This is really an honor,” said Missy Henriksen, a spokeswoman for NALP told WTOP. “People feel very reflective and proud of the work they are doing.”
“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,” said Phil Fogarty, with the Ohio company Weed Man.
The work is especially significant in that many of the landscapers are veterans themselves.
“As a veteran, you look over this and you’re just so thankful that a place like this exists,” said Roger Phelps, a former military man turned landscaper told WUSA9. Phelps added that he had four former classmates buried at the cemetery, whom he made sure to visit before starting work.
In terms of specific work, the grounds do have a full-time crew, so the volunteers are primarily working on special projects. According to the NALP, the volunteers are taking on tasks such as “phosphorous application, aeration, irrigation installation and repairs, tree cabling and lightning protection, landscape and hardscape projects.”