Society

Man Cleans Veteran Graves By Hand (Photos)

| by Sheena Vasani

When he walked passed a moss-covered veteran's grave in a cemetery in Drumheller, Alberta, Canada, Eric Dahl was upset.

“When was the last time that anyone walked past these stones?" Dahl wondered, Global News reports.

That's when it dawned on Dahl: despite their sacrifice, decades had passed without some of these even being tended to.

Dahl, a father of five who has been unemployed since March, knew then he had to take action, CBC News reports.

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“To show these veterans, to show veterans we have alive today that I do truly honor them, Nov. 11 is every day,” said Dahl, who then began the work of cleaning every single grave. "To let them know that they are not forgotten, that I will not forget them." 

He says he works on the graves every day, making sure to work with "military precision" because he knows that's what the veterans would have done.

“There’s sometimes where I can do 10 or 15 (a day); there’s some days when I can do one or two," he explains.

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Although he appreciates the recognition, he says he's not doing it for attention.

“To tell you the truth, I wouldn’t have cared if anyone noticed,” he said. “I’m continuing on with what I’m doing for me.”

Instead, Dahl hopes others will be inspired to do the same for their own local military cemeteries.

“These are just the boys from one little town, in little Alberta, and every little town has these cemeteries," he said. "I would like to be an example to show my children what one person can do and if you want to, you can make a difference whether other people notice or not." 

While Dahl hopes he can have them all cleaned by Veterans Day, known as Remembrance Day in Canada, he says that won't be the last time he'll tend the headstones.

“’Til they’re all done, and then I’ll start over and make sure that they’re tended to," he said.

"I am not going to stop," adds Dahl. "I am going to make sure that every veteran in here is taken care of. They are family. This is somebody's family. It is not just a name on a stone. It is just too easy in this day and age, I feel, that they get forgotten when we get wrapped up in our own lives."

Sources: Global News, CBC News / Photo credit: Global News, CBC News

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