Bill Bledsoe, the manager of the Milton Benevolent Cemetery, wants to invite the community to participate in a flag raising ceremony followed by a volunteer work day on Saturday, October 24.
“I do not raise a flag without a ceremony, I am too red, white and blue,” Bledsoe said.
In addition to having the Milton High School JROTC involved with the event, Bledsoe invited Milton Mayor Wesley Meiss to present certificates honoring U.S. Marine Walter Sullivan of Milton and Rick Desantis of Navarre, who survived the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
The ceremony will also feature the raising of the Betsy Ross Flag by representatives from the Daughters of the American Revolution organization. Bledsoe said the D.A.R. regularly maintains the grave site of an soldier from the American Revolutionary War.
Bledsoe said the ceremony will take between 30 to 40 minutes, in which the work day will take place.
“The community is invited. In fact, they are urged to participate,” Bledsoe said. “There will be something for everybody to do.”
The cemetery’s board receives limited funding from the City of Milton, however it is not enough to keep the historical burial ground maintained, Bledsoe said.
Attendees are encouraged to bring weed eaters to the event. Refreshments and snacks will also be available.
In addition to accepting donations, Bledsoe will also provide information on the ‘Adopt-a-Plot’ program. The program is seeking volunteers to help maintain burial sites of those who no longer have relatives around to maintain the grave sites.
“We have probably three or four hundred grave sites out there at least 100 or 150 years old with no family around and (the grave sites) are deteriorating,” Bledsoe said. “We are urging people in the community to adopt one of the gravesites and keep it clean.”
Bledsoe said only five or six of those gravesite have been adopted thus far. He added it would only consist of volunteering a few hours a month maintaining a gravesite.
Whether through a school club or local organization, residents looking to earn community service are also encouraged to volunteer at the cemetery. Bledsoe said it is the donations and volunteers which help with upkeep at the cemetery.