LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Brushing away dirt with her hands, Lynn Savage makes sure the gravestone is clean before setting down a Christmas wreath. She does not know the person whose name is etched in the stone, but it does bring back somber memories.
"I had a son that was killed in Iraq 11 years ago today," she said.
Her son is buried in a veterans cemetery in New Hampshire, and while she cannot be with him this Saturday, she and many others are doing their part at Eastern Cemetery in Louisville to pay tribute to those who served and died for their country.
"It is so important to make sure their service is never forgotten," she said.
This Saturday, at Eastern Cemetery and at veterans cemeteries around the country, volunteers are laying Christmas wreaths at the graves of soldiers to make sure they aren't forgotten during the holidays.
"You have 1,000 veterans who are laid to rest here that for a long time spent most of the year completely covered in grass to where nobody could find them," Andy Harpole with the Friends of Eastern Cemetery said.
Maintaining a cemetery can be a lot of work and it can be even harder when trouble strikes. Earlier this year, Friends of Eastern Cemetery, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that works on keeping the cemetery in shape, was hit by crime.
"Our equipment was all stolen about a month ago and we weren't quite finished getting the grass cut," Harpole said.
But thanks to local businesses and volunteers that stepped up, the cemetery was fixed up in time for the holidays, and Saturday, the volunteers were back to add some holiday cheer while remembering those who fought for freedom.
"They didn't die in vain if you can keep remembering and honoring them every day," Savage said. "There's no better way to do it."
And while Savage isn't able to physically be with her son this afternoon, she does know he is receiving the same respect she's giving to these veterans.
"A friend of mine back home is going to personally place a flag on his grave today, place the wreath on his grave today," she said.
This year, 392 wreaths were placed at Eastern Cemetery, more than 100 more than last year. Wreaths Across America is looking for donations to supply the wreaths. Eastern Cemetery is hoping to have enough wreaths for all 1,100 graves next year.