‘These veterans … should have a respectable resting place’

The Spanish American War Veterans Lot in Boston’s Mount Hope Cemetery holds the graves of some 300 veterans, including four Medal of Honor recipients in Daniel Campbell, Leonard Chadwick, Henry Hendrickson and William Spicer.

On April 19, members of the Legion Family spent part of their day cleaning the headstones of those veterans and others in the cemetery and placing flags at the graves.

“All these stones behind me are going to be cleaned and treated with appropriate chemicals so they’ll continue to clean and brighten, and after they’re done, we’re going to flag this beautiful section and honor these veterans,” said Gene Theroux, commander of the Sons of The American Legion Detachment of Massachusetts.

“It’s all about good citizenship, and I think what we’re doing here today is a fine example of good citizenship,” Theroux added.

The volunteers used D/2 to clean the headstones and received guidance from Marc Omerod, the owner of Monument Preservation Restoration, on how to properly reset toppled headstones.

“These veterans have already served us, some of them have paid the ultimate price. In order to honor them, they should have a respectable resting place,” Omerod said.

Past Department of Massachusetts Commander Milton Lashus regularly visits the cemetery to visit the graves of his parents, Alton and Victorine, and was on hand to see those headstones being cleaned.

“I think it’s important to recognize those veterans that are interred here at Mount Hope Cemetery,” Lashus said.

Restoring and maintaining veterans’ graves across the state of Massachusetts has been a passion project for Theroux, a dual member of The American Legion and the SAL.

“It’s important to know history and know something about these folks and what their service and sacrifice is, and most importantly, you’ve heard the expression, ‘if you don’t know history, history will repeat itself.’ We can’t correct the wrongs that were made years ago, but perhaps by knowing history, we can prevent or mitigate some of those mistakes that have been made,” Theroux said.