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n April 15th 2014 NABVETS Kentucky started a major project to change the way we looked at military veterans lain to rest. "Eagles at Rest" restoration groundbreaking was held at the Forest Home Cemetery. The "Eagles at Rest" restoration project came about from seeing veteran headstones, that are located in what are considered, "private cemeteries", that have been neglected and/or forgotten. IE: Sunk into the ground, leaning, dirty from mold and dirt or grown over by underbrush and trees. With a motto of "leave no one behind" in mind, NABVETS Kentucky has partnered with the Department of Veteran Affairs, local community leaders, cemetery committees and Evans Monument Company to change the way the veteran headstones and legacy are looked upon. The "Eagles at Rest" project has taken shape and will be rolling across the Jefferson County area in Louisville, KY. building on a head of steam to move across Kentucky, Region IV and Nationally.

Can you find the solider?

I have heard the motto used in several arenas. Some take it to heart and some just seem to say it to feel a part of. "Leave no one behind." When I hear this it brings to mind some many mottos and sayings that have been used for many years. When it comes to your family or best friends, there is a bond that forms that no one or nothing can come between it. In some cultures you hear, "I am my brother's keeper." Your brother/sister may not be a blood related person, but you will do whatever it takes to make sure that this person is always on the same level that you are or better. You will share whatever you have with them. If not family, they will still treat your family as if it were theirs. Your mom is their mom; your dad is their dad. Your table is their table. In the military you're assigned to a squad, platoon, company, and unit from day one. On a smaller level, there is "Buddy System." You are partnered up with one person that you look out for as well as they look out for you. You watch their back and they watch your back. We see these relationships last for years and throughout many organizations. Unfortunately, as time passes on, an end must come to all things. When the final race has been run for a friend, many may that knew them come out to pay their last respects. One saying that I have heard at some of the wakes is, "It's a shame that we seem to always see each other at wakes and funerals," or most recently I heard a group talking and one said, "the last time I seen him (the deceased) was at another wake." We say this, but how can we change it? What do we do about it? What can we do to make it right?

Can you see the veteran now?

How do we make sure that we are not leaving any one behind? What is the best way to remember those that have given there all, served in many ways and for some that protected our freedom? NABVETS Kentucky has begun a project to reverse a lost relationship with many that have been laid to rest. The "Eagles at Rest" veterans headstone project is a start to give honor to those that we have left behind, by not caring for the final resting place of our brothers and sisters in arms.

When you see a veterans memorial cemetery that is taken care of, you see all the stones are clean, standing upright, not covered by brush or trees and in formation. They are dress right dressed and covered down. No matter how you look at these headstones, you will see them in straight lines just as you would see soldiers in formation. In some cases, families of veterans would rather have their family member buried in a private or more local cemetery. Maybe the family may not know that there are cemeteries that veterans can be laid to rest in. Some cemeteries may not have military sections set aside for veterans. So the Dress right Dress order may not be used. Some private cemeteries may not set the headstones according to the proper standards. In some cases the cemetery may not have a caregiver or committee to look after the cemetery grounds and headstone upkeep. Maybe the family of the veteran has expired and there is no family left to speak for or keep up the veteran's final resting place. NABVETS Kentucky wants to be that voice. NABVETS Kentucky wants to help serve the community cemeteries. NABVETS Kentucky does not want to leave any of our brothers and sisters behind. There is work that needs to be done. There are brothers and sisters that are being left behind. Please join us in correcting the wrong.

No one's final resting place should look like this?
NABVETS Kentucky wants them to all look like this.
Before and After photos of headstones.

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Rodney W. Crockett