Please lend a hand

Published 8:05 pm Thursday, July 19, 2018

One of the treasures synonymous with Vicksburg is the Vicksburg National Military Park and it needs our help.

Overgrown grass and weeds are overtaking a good portion of the park, due mainly to staffing issues within the National Park Service that don’t allow funding for upkeep and maintenance.

As a result, the hallowed ground that is the resting place of 17,000 soldiers has not received the proper mowing in the National Cemetery it deserves.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

VNMP superintendent Bill Justice and retired VNMP chief of operations Rick Martin are calling upon the community to lend a hand in helping to fight back the overgrowth that is throughout the cemetery and requests volunteers to show up Saturday morning with grass trimmers and fuel in hand to attack the grass and weeds.

The workday will begin at 8 a.m. and volunteers are asked to meet up at the USS Cairo dressed in long pants and proper footwear for a safety briefing and to sign forms before getting to work.

Safety eyeglasses and hearing protection, as well as water will be provided.

Bring your trimmers and extra string for it. The National Park Service will provide water and a light lunch.

Although the event is going on until 3 p.m., a heat wave is moving through the area and volunteers are being asked to show up early if possible.

This is a major undertaking and the VNMP officials are hoping to make it an annual community event.

In the event storms do move into the area, the workday will be rescheduled for July 28.

It is summertime and we all know how quickly grass grows and how frequently it must be mowed to keep it from getting out of hand.

“… those veterans out there don’t deserve that; that’s not the way it’s supposed to look. It really is tragic,” said Martin.

“I just can’t see the cemetery looking like that. I don’t know if we’ll be able to do it in one day or not, but I thought we’d try and take a stab at it.”

We could not agree more and urge our community to help do your part in maintaining the military park — a tourist attraction that brings thousands of people each year to our city, but is also a huge part of our history and past deserving of being properly maintained.