Honoring the fallen: Patchogue group protects, restores veteran gravestones

PATCHOGUE, Long Island (WABC) -- A community on Long Island is coming together to restore and protect the gravestones of our fallen veterans.

The historical Lakeview Cemetery in Patchogue has as many as 400 gravestones on its property. However, about 20 years ago, no one would have realized that there were actual graves on the property, because it looked like a jungle.

Periodically Patchogue firefighters would come out to clean up the property. Patchogue historian Hans Henke decided to take matters into his own hands in 1992 to finally restore the cemetery back to a respectable manner.

In 2006, the Cemetery Restoration Committee was formed by a number of volunteers and community efforts rallying around the restoration of the beloved cemetery.

Every Memorial and Veterans Day, the nonprofit gets together to place American flags around each gravestone to honor the fallen.

"The longer we go past those wars like the Civil War, American Revolution, it almost doesn't seem real," volunteer Christopher Capobianco said. "When you stand here and look at a headstone of a veteran that served and some of the headstones list when they served the New York regimens, the different troops that they served in, to me that makes that history come alive and it's not just something you're reading in a book."

Today, the committee continues to volunteer to restore, maintain and honor the graves for the veterans of the past, present and future.

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