University of Alabama Student Veterans to Clean Military Graves Thursday
A group of student veterans from the University of Alabama will honor those who came before them during a service project in honor of Veterans Day on Thursday.
According to a release from a UA spokesperson, the Crimson Legion, formally known as the Campus Veterans Association, will join several other student organizations to clean around two dozen headstones belonging to veterans interred at Chambers Cemetery.
Dalton Stokes, the graduate advisor for the Crimson Legion, said the idea for the project came after the group received an inquiry from a Vietnam veteran, John Kukitz, who was displeased with the condition of the graves in the cemetery.
"His best friend while in service was Staff Sergeant Grady Leonard Lewis, who unfortunately lost his life on November 21, 1969," Stokes said. "Mr.Kukitz informed us that Grady is buried in Chambers Cemetery and wanted a picture of his grave. Upon members making a visit and providing photos to Mr. Kukitz, he expressed his concerns about the condition of Grady’s headstone and wanted to know if there was anything we could do to ensure veterans buried in Chambers Cemetery could receive the respect they deserve."
Stokes said the group agreed with Kunitz and wanted to make sure Lewis and other veterans' resting places would be cleaned and cleared.
Stokes said the event, which is a part of the university's Veterans' Week, is a way to "give members the opportunity to pay their respects to those who made the ultimate sacrifice and help make a difference in our area."
"We are deeply grateful for all of those who served, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice," Stokes said. "Without the men and women who answer the call to serve, our way of life could look completely different. They give their entire lives to us and our country. The least we could do is show them our gratitude and appreciation for their actions and uphold their memory. We hope that events like this can shine some light on the veteran community not only here in Tuscaloosa, but all over the country."
The cleanup will begin at 9 a.m. at the cemetery, which is located on 12th Street Northeast in Holt.
Stay connected with the Tuscaloosa Thread for updates on Veteran Day events scheduled to take place this month.