DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Cadets with Wright State University’s ROTC program spent Friday cleaning up the Dayton VA Cemetery to make sure our fallen heroes aren’t forgotten at their final resting place.
“I saw that there were some headstones that weren’t as up-kept as others,” said Battalion Outreach Officer Elijah Lynch who helped organize the cleanup.
“He set it all up. I just had to make sure everybody came here,” said Cadet Battalion Commander Ben Chatlin.
Professor of Military Science at Wright State University Lt. Col. Anthony Gonzalez helped lead the charge, helping clean and supervising the efforts.
“As a leader, I want to make sure that they understand that it’s not just about good grades; it’s not just about getting that commission to be a second lieutenant. You want to go out and do some good in the community that you’re in,” said Lt. Col. Gonzalez.
Thirty-two cadets spent several hours volunteering and cleaning headstones. They say it’s a small sacrifice for those who sacrificed so much.
“Just that level of commitment – this is the least we can do,” said Lynch.
Every veteran buried at the cemetery has at least a decade of active-duty service to their name. Lynch says that’s why their efforts are so special.
“This cemetery is near and dear to my heart and has a veteran buried here from every major war conflict all the way back to the Revolutionary War,” said Lynch.
For Cadet Markus Perry, one name stands out. His grandfather, Herman Rutlin is buried there.
“He went in at 18 years old, joined the Army, went overseas to Vietnam and fought for our country,” said Perry as he cleaned his headstone. “All of the wisdom he’s given me, all the knowledge he’s given me, all the life lessons he’s taught me – this is a small drop in the bucket.”
Cleaning off headstones, cadets honored and paid tribute to war heroes.
“Just to be here is part of a bigger legacy that we are about to be a part of and that’s pretty important to us,” said Chatlin.
JROTC students also spent part of Friday afternoon helping with cleanup.