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Honoring veterans and fallen service members at Renewal and Remembrance

On July 20th, hundreds of landscape professionals descended on Arlington National Cemetery to beautify and improve more than one quarter of the cemetery’s historic grounds as part of Renewal & Remembrance.

Organized by the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP), Renewal and Remembrance involved more than 400 volunteer landscape professionals from throughout the United States.

Entering its 19th year, Renewal & Remembrance is the largest landscape industry day of service in the country. More than 200 of the cemetery’s 624 acres was touched by the volunteers. They beautified the grounds through mulching, pruning, aerating, planting, liming and applying gypsum.

Approximately 80 tons of lime were applied to 182 acres of turf to ensure Arlington’s rolling green landscape remains pristine. By helping to neutralize acidic soils, the application of limestone makes nutrients in the soil more available to Arlington’s lawns.

Irrigation experts worked on various locations throughout the cemetery performing audits, and inspecting and repairing irrigation systems as needed.

Tree care experts installed lightning protection on seven of the cemetery’s historic trees and cable on two others for support. The lightning protection and cabling are important, say organizers, because the cemetery has lost several historic trees in major storms.

“Arlington National Cemetery holds a special place in the hearts of Americans. Its breathtaking appearance reflects the high esteem that we bestow on our veterans and service members who have given so much for all of us,” said association president Scott Jamieson, Landscape Industry Certified. “It is a rewarding honor to be able to give back, as an association of landscape professionals, by helping to care for these sacred grounds.”

Several volunteers were veterans who served in our nation’s Armed Forces, have a family member serving in the military, or have a loved one interred in the cemetery.

“It means a lot to me to participate in this event,” said Jake Johnson, who served three overseas deployments with the Marine Corps and works for LawnAmerica in Tulsa, Okla. Johnson lost three buddies during a 2010 Afghanistan deployment who are buried at Arlington National Cemetery. “It’s a good opportunity for me to give back to those who are buried there. I feel like I owe them a lot more. I can carry their memories forward by giving back.”

Renewal & Remembrance kicked off with an opening ceremony at the James R. Tanner Amphitheater (formerly the Old Amphitheater) at 7:30am and grounds work commenced immediately after the ceremony and continued until 11:30am.

To honor the service and sacrifice of the nation’s veterans and military service members, two children of association members placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at 9:15am. Fifty children ages 3-13 planted perennial flowers on the cemetery grounds.

New Holland Construction and Caterpillar, Inc. are platinum sponsors for Renewal & Remembrance. For more information about NALP, visit www.landscapeprofessionals.org.

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