Community comes together to clean up Copperas Cove cemetery

By PAMELA GRANT

Cove Leader-Press

 

The Copperas Cove community came together Saturday for the 9/11 National Day of Service.

United for a good cause, citizens gathered at the Copperas Cove Cemetery from 8 a.m. until 11 a.m. There, volunteers picked up trash, edged, weeded, and respectfully cleaned headstones.

The event was held by Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful (KCCB) and Just Serve, https://www.justserve.org/  a website that works to create unity in communities by providing service opportunities which is sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

“We are going to clean the headstones in the cemetery, especially those with lichen on them. This helps prevent them from corroding,” said Darren Coleman, a KCCB commissioner who also works with Just Serve. “Taking care of our cemeteries and preserving history is very important.”

Coleman said that it’s important to volunteer and help out the community not just on the day of service, but throughout the year. Coleman said that, despite all the tragedies of 9/11, the event did pull the nation together, and he hopes to continue to hold events like Saturday’s cleanup on the 9/11 National Day of Service to promote unity in our community.

Karen Ratta, member of the Copperas Cove First Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, said that their church also participated in cleaning up the cemetery for last year’s National Day of Service. She said that last year they had between 20 and 25 members of the church, and this year, they anticipated about 50 participants.

“We did this last year as a service project, and I really enjoyed seeing the results of cleaning the stones,” said Ratta who pointed out how white some of the stones that they cleaned last year were and how much easier they were to read. “We believe in taking care of our ancestors…You have to be able to read the stones. We want to be able to know who our ancestors were. And you can research the time periods and find out about the life they lived.”

Ratta wasn’t the only one paying attention to the names and dates on the headstones. Many of the volunteers, even the youngest ones, murmured names and dates out loud just looking at the headstones before they began cleaning them. Some were impressed by how long ago some of them lived with at least one woman looking up the dates to learn a little bit more about the time period that the woman whose grave she was cleaning lived in. Another young boy was saddened that one of the headstones that he cleaned marked the grave of a young child that had only lived for 11 days.

Mayor Dan Yancey was one of the many who attended the cleanup. He said that paying it forward is very important to him and he likes how our community comes together on events like the cemetery cleanup.

“September 11 is a special day for not a lot of good reasons, but one of the best reasons is that it shows the spirit and unity of the citizens of our country and how they came together to make the world a better place for everyone…It’s a tribute to who we are as a people,” said Yancey. “Just like the Twin Towers are a sacred place, our cemeteries are a sacred place. The cemetery is a sacred place for reflection and remembering those who we lost.”

KCCB’s next event will be the Fall Sweep on Sept 24 at 8 a.m. in City Park. They are partnering with the Pink Warrior Angels for this event.

Copperas Cove Leader Press

2210 U.S. 190
Copperas Cove, TX 76522
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