By Andrew SharbelMay 28, 2009
FORT BELVOIR, Va. -- Members of the Belvoir community came together Thursday in the Fort Belvoir Elementary School cafeteria to observe Memorial Day and honor Soldiers who have served or are currently serving their country.
The event coincided with the Woodlawn Cemetery clean up that occurred May 16 to honor the servicemembers from the Woodlawn and Belvoir community.
Around 50 parents and students from FBES, members of the Woodlawn United Methodist Church and other community members participated in the clean up of the cemetery.
More than 100 bags of debris, trash and leaves were picked up and flags were placed at each headstone.
Jane Wilson, principal of FBES, began the ceremony by welcoming the assembled and was followed by a reading of John Henry Deneberg-Scarborough's This is a Cemetery poem by Brooke Jefferson, fifth-grader at FBES.
Robert Holland, a member of Woodlawn Methodist Church, then presented a history of the church and cemetery.
Following the history of the church, FBES music teacher Kathy Murdock presented a slide show she put together of the students and other community members cleaning the cemetery.
Next, students from FBES who participated in the clean up were given the chance to reflect on their experiences.
"My experience of working on Saturday was one I have never had before," Brianna Ramos said. "It felt so good to know that I was helping the community and it was the least I could do to show my appreciation for the fallen Soldiers and the ones serving right this second."
Mark Clark admitted working in the cemetery wasn't as scary as he originally thought.
"It was fun and it wasn't so scary at all working in the cemetery," Clark said. "The clean up showed me that a little amount of people could do a lot of work."
Lt. Col. Steven Kinnear, the deputy director of the U.S. Army Freedom Salute Program, presented participants in the clean up with a letter and a certificate of appreciation signed by the Secretary and the Chief of Staff of the Army thanking them for supporting veterans in the cemetery.
With 2009 being the Year of the NCO, Command Sgt. Maj. Ian Guy, director of DPW, then gave a tribute by performing a roll call and including Soldiers buried in the cemetery.
Jordan Girard, a sixth-grader, closed the event by playing "Taps."