Remembering and Honoring the Heroes
Time has a way of forgetting the heroes of a nation. Nature reclaims the coffins and tombstones and before long the names of the fallen are forever forgotten to time. Respect for veterans within the United States can take on many forms. But they all have one thing in common.
They honor the soldiers that have given their lives for their country. Others like to issue parades or have ceremonies and even erect monuments in their memories. But time is still the enemy of such things.
People have to work hard at keeping time from destroying the untold legacy of the fallen soldiers. Cemeteries that are funded well can do a lot of the upkeep of the grounds. But for the tombstones, it usually falls to the family to keep them looking nice. When family and time forget there will always be those like Andrew Lumish to step in and take care of maintaining the memory.
Lumish is being called “The Good Cemeterian” and for good reason. He has made it his mission to serve the fallen by cleaning their tombstones. He is doing this all over the Tampa Bay region in Florida.
The man has one day off a week and spends part of it cleaning one tombstone at a time. His efforts are making a difference and many soldiers will now be remembered because their tombstone is readable and clean because someone cared.
Lumish is not just doing a good job. He is doing a great job. The tombstones look like new when he is finished cleaning them. He not only does current grave sites, but he also does tombstones of soldiers that have fallen as far back the civil war.
Every stone has its own story and Lumish wants the soldier’s name to be remembered so that the story can live on. Every grave he refreshes is a privilege for him to clean.
Lumish owns his own business. So a lot of his time is spent running and growing his company. But he has taken that knowledge and applied it to cleaning the tombstones. The way he does this is the same for every grave. He rinses down the headstone and uses a chemical called “D/2” that works to penetrate the memory killing grime that is working erase the soldiers from history.
Lumish then begins the tiring process of scrubbing by hand every inch of the headstone until it shines like new. In one case, a tombstone from the 1800s was cleaned so well that it was now readable. Before Lumish serviced the headstone no one even knew the soldier’s name. It had appeared that history erased the person, but Lumish came along and brought the name back.
One description of Lumish’s work puts it all into perspective “What once was a dark cemetery, is now brightened throughout the night be these newly cleaned headstones. Rain brings algae, and the stone used to make tombstones absorbs and holds on to a large amount of the moisture during storms.
Because of this, a thick layer of algae and moss will begin to grow on tombstones. However, once Andrew works his magic on them, they glow with a luster that makes night time at a cemetery seem like its day.” What a fitting description of the work that a man is doing for people that gave their lives, so he could live free.
Andrew Lumish will tell people that the work is hard and long. He mentions that it can take as long as three months to fully restore a headstone. But it is a small price to pay for the price that people he does not even know paid for him. Lumish has a following and it is growing.
His wife is his biggest supporter and others are not far behind. The country needs more people like Lumish that are willing to give of their time to help remember those that gave their lives for their country. They game their lives so people can enjoy the freedoms that they have.