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Members of American Legion Auxiliary, Unit 229 invite students and other residents to help at the Veterans Gravestone Cleaning event on Nov. 5. CONTRIBUTED

Volunteers: Help with gravestone cleaning by American Legion Auxiliary

MADISON – The American Legion Auxiliary, Unit 229 will host the fourth annual Veterans Gravestone Cleaning event on Nov. 5.

The work will start at 11:00 a.m. “This year, we will be cleaning the stones in the Civil War era cemetery, south of Mill Road at the intersection of Mill Road and Maple Street, in Old Madison Cemetery,” Jean Downs said. Downs serves as President of Auxiliary Unit 229 and Vice Commander of Post 229.

This year, 2022 marks the fourth time that American Legion members and volunteers have worked to clean the headstones for veterans’ graves.

“Each year, we clean the gravestones after the flags have been placed for Veterans Day. By completing the work this way, it is easy for participants to identify the proper stones to clean,” Downs said,

“In the past, we have had excellent participation from our Junior ROTC units at Bob Jones, James Clemens and Sparkman high schools. The Girl Scouts of SU 212 in Madison and the James Clemens cheer squad, Bob Jones football team and other members from the community have volunteered for the workday,” Downs said.

The purpose of the cleaning is not only to make the stones presentable but also to preserve the stones and help to prevent future decay.

“We use a specific cleaning solution recommended by the Alabama Historical Commission that not only removes the existing biofouling but leaves behind a protective layer on the stones to prevent future damage,” Downs said. Biofouling refers to the growth and accumulation of living organisms on a structure piece of equipment. The use and appearance of the structure eventually will have negative impact from the invasive materials. (corrosionpedia.com).

“Families, civic groups and clubs are all welcome to join us. Bring a bucket and a soft brush if you have one, but supplies will be available,” Downs said.

For more information, email AlAux229@yahoo.com or visit Facebook/American Legion Post 229, Madison, Alabama or alamadison229.org.

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