Story by LCpl Paige Verry on 09/17/2019The sun shines over the tops of deep green trees illuminating each slate-grey headstone. The crowd gathers to pay their respects, and to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Volunteers assemble for Patriot Day at the Quantico National Cemetery, Triangle Va., Sept. 11, 2019. Many of these volunteers are veterans, who came to honor the memory of people who perished during the events of 9/11.
"When 9/11 occurred I was an Air Force reservist working for the department of transportation in Washington D.C.", said Janice Hill, Director of Hampton National Cemetery. "I was called to active duty to the Dover Air Force Base mortuary in Delaware upon the attack."
Hill joined other volunteers during Patriot Day to clean headstones in honor of the more than 3,000 people lost during the attack on the world trade centers' and the Pentagon.
Randy Reeves, the Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs spoke to the volunteers about how important this day is to our history, and to the families and friends of those involved in the attack.
"In the National Cemetery Administration we have one mission to ensure that no veteran ever dies, and today we gather to ensure that no one, who gave their life on that fateful day 9/11 is ever forgotten." said Reeves. "Here in the Quantico National Cemetery there are 3 individuals, who lost their lives that day."
The motto of the day for these volunteers is "Carry the Load." Bracelets were given to represent the time taken, and the service done for the Quantico National Cemetery, and for those interred.
Volunteers lined up behind water hoses at two different sites with blue buckets. They gathered water and scrubbers, spread out to each grave stone, and scrubbed them one by one until they sparkled in the morning sun.