Return to honor: A Pennsylvania woman is cleaning veterans' headstones

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Alicia Lee is helping the headstones of veterans interred in Pennsylvania to shine. Photo credit Courtesy of Alicia Lee

Alicia Lee is helping the gravestones of veterans interred at cemeteries across northeastern Pennsylvania to shine.

When the weather cooperates, Lee can be found scrubbing away years of dirt from veterans' headstones for free.

“What led me to cleaning veterans' gravestones is when I was cleaning my grandparents' headstones that my mom thought she was going to have to pay to replace. I saw a stone that needed lots of cleaning and no flowers on it,” she said.

The headstones that receive Lee’s loving attention are government-issued.

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A beore and after photo of a veteran headstone after it has received care from Alicia Lee. Photo credit Courtesy of Alicia Lee

“It is very important to me to clean these stones because they served our country. It is the least I can do for them for as much as they did for us,” continued Lee. “I also want these stones to be still standing and readable for my child and my grandchildren to read.”

Lee said the headstones of veterans are an important part of history and if you are interested in cleaning those in your community, do your research first.

“Please don't use acids or wire brushes,” she urged. ”Also, remember the older the stone the easier it is to fall over. Only use a light bristle brush and no pressure.”

Don’t pressure wash the stones, because that can cause them to blow apart or pit, she added.

Lee has cleaned 256 veteran headstones over the past year and hopes to increase the number to 400 by July 4, encouraging those in the area to reach out to her if they have a stone that wants to be cleaned.

A GoFundMe has been started to help with the cost of cleaning solutions and artificial flowers for the stones. There is also an Amazon Wishlist for artificial flowers and pinwheels for the graves.

Reach Julia LeDoux at Julia@connectingvets.com.

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