EMPORIA, KS. (KSNT) – Vicki Potter of Emporia took on the daunting task of cleaning 55 headstones that belong to veterans in time for Memorial Day, giving their stories yet another chapter.
The Melvern native retired from 35 years of teaching in Lebo a few years back. She wanted to do something special for Memorial Day, feeling a personal connection with veterans. Her father was a veteran of World War II.
That’s when Potter came across a list of projects, one of which was to clean veteran’s headstones at the cemetery. There were even instructions from the Office of Veteran’s Affairs, that included what products to use similar to that used in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
Potter decided to tackle the Civil War era grave sites at the Maplewood Memorial Lawn in Emporia. Each one took about 30 minutes to clean. With so many, it took her one day to get through just a few, and she still touches up them up when she visits.
The project has taken months to complete.
“After I cleaned I put my hand on each of these stones and just thanked them,” Potter said. “It was kind of humbling.”
The reason for doing it is simple for Potter. She said they simply deserve it.
The headstones were issued by the U.S. government and anyone is allowed to clean them. Potter did get permission from the owner of the cemetery.
On a day that is meant to remember those who cannot be thanked in person, Potter is giving thanks to these brave souls that goes beyond flowers and social media posts.