HONOLULU (NNS) -- Sailors stationed in Hawaii volunteered to clean up the Navy Veteran's Cemetery at the Oahu Cemetery in Honolulu Nov. 9.
More than forty volunteers from the Pearl Harbor-based surface ships USS Chafee (DDG 90), USS Russell (DDG 59), USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60), USS Port Royal (CG 73), USS Lake Erie (CG 70), and from Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific participated in the event.
Led by Senior Chief Operations Specialist (SW/AW) Douglas Anderson, USS Chafee, and hosted by the Surface Navy Association (SNA), the Sailors cleaned headstones and cleared weeds and tall grass in the area, in preparation for Veteran's Day.
"Today we're here to honor some of our fallen Navy heroes by cleaning up this area in order to make the landscape look nice for the Veteran's Day ceremony," said Anderson. "We have volunteers from many of the ships at Pearl Harbor for this SNA event. It is a great thing just to be able to give back to our deceased veterans and the community."
Cmdr. Chase Patrick, USS Chafee commanding officer, spoke about the importance of the cleanup effort.
"Every year we come out here to clean up the Navy's section of the Oahu cemetery to pay respects to our veterans that have come before us," Patrick said. "This is not a military ceremony, so it's important for the local community to see us out here doing our part to beautify the cemetery."
Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Stephanie Cady, USS Chafee, said she volunteered for the cleanup to honor the Navy veterans.
"It feels good to do our part in the community, and at the same time pay our respects to the fallen Sailors who remain at rest here in the cemetery," Cady said.
The cemetery is located in Nuuanu Valley near downtown Honolulu, and the veterans section is on an 80-by-40-yard piece of property purchased by the Navy. The plot was acquired in 1935, and a trust fund was established for the maintenance of the site.
There are more than 170 grave sites, 135 of which are in use. The earliest grave markers are dated in the 1800s and the most recent interments were in 2002.
For more news from Commander, Navy Region Hawaii, visit www.navy.mil/local/cnrh/.