Strangers gather at a local cemetery to scrub and shine stones that keep the memory of fallen war heroes alive. These volunteers put a lot of effort in Saginaw today. Next to personal memories, the significance of an person's grave stone can really mean a lot to their family and their community.
Reporters went to Saginaw Cemetery today to visit with the volunteers and witness a revitalization of the resting place of several U.S. veterans.
Ted Donaldson had the honor of getting a fallen hero's grave ready for another veterans day. This individual was especially close to his heart.
Ted Donaldson/Cleaned His Great Uncle's Grave: "He was probably more influential than anybody else as far as what led me to join the military."
His great uncle, A World War II veteran, was a great part of his and his brother's childhood.
Ted Donaldson/Cleaned His Great Uncle's Grave: "We spent a lot of time with him, got to know him very well, listen to his stories. He'd talk a little bit about his experiences in WW II. He served in the United States Navy, he served in the Pacific. But you know I always looked up to the guy."
Donaldson, now a vet himself, joined in with members of Compass Quest, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the general public to clean the headstones of veterans at the Saginaw Cemetery.
Ted Donaldson/Cleaned His Great Uncle's Grave: "You know we've got strangers out here that we've never met before out here cleaning these graves. I mean that's very moving, and it means a lot to us."
Also giving his time was Garrett Ray, a current member of the U.S. Navy who just happened to be back in his hometown for a visit.
Garrett Ray/ US Navy Builder Chief: "I myself have been serving overseas, been at war. It really is a struggle, not for just the individual but for their families and I feel like the least that those of us that are fortunate enough to still be alive can do is to pay a small gratitude back to them."
And the group of strangers went to each grave, one by one, making sure the veteran's final messages were clear and their service, honored.
Garrett Ray/ US Navy Builder Chief: "I know all the families here appreciate it and I appreciate it and I know it doesn't go unnoticed."
It's these simple moments that make it so clear that people in the four states pull through every veterans day to make sure each soldier is remembered.