It was perfect fall weather for a “Day of Caring” at Historic Oaklawn Cemetery. 

Retiring the old and raising a new. Congressman Bradley Byrne was on hand to honor the hundreds of veterans buried in Oaklawn Cemetery — giving an American flag that flew above the U.S. Capitol Building back in September.

“And it’s appropriate we honor them by having a flag from the Capitol here — and further honor them with all of these volunteers to try and clean up the grave sites,” said Rep. Byrne.

Mobile native Col. Roosevelt Lewis Junior also brought a fitting gift to pay tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen who are buried there — like Captain Leon Roberts killed in World War II.

According to Lewis, tradition holds that Tuskegee Airmen take soil from historic Moton Field, where they’re trained, for added protection.

“And they put it in their flight suit in the leg of their flight suit and they carry it on missions, especially tough missions,” explained Lewis.

In remembrance of the brave, Col. Lewis scattered the hallowed soil around the flag pole.

Meanwhile, the cemetery has extra meaning for Lewis. His father, also a veteran, and other family members are buried there. He’s thankful for the volunteers who are taking time to clean up the cemetery.

“I’m very pleased to see there is an interest now in keeping it up. And I wouuld ask the Mobile public to support the groups that are doing this to honor those who have given the last full measure of their being for this nation,” said Lewis.

Again, the Veterans Memorial Recovery Team is always looking for volunteers. If you would like to volunteer email photographybyfran@gmail.com.

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