Military families mow overgrown grass at shutdown Arizona Memorial entrance

Military families mow overgrown grass at shutdown Arizona Memorial entrance
Published: Oct. 14, 2013 at 4:34 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 14, 2013 at 9:50 PM HST
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PEARL HARBOR (HawaiiNewsNow) - The work outside the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial visitors center lasted until the last blade of overgrown grass was cut down to size.

"The grass was pretty out of control. So I said, 'Hey! Let's try to do something about it,'" Josh Stone said.

The U.S. Army medic posted a plea on Facebook Sunday night. Monday morning, dozens of military men, their spouses and kids answered the call. They were armed with lawn mowers, trimmers and rakes, and good intentions.

"We all come from the military. I think we're all in the same agreement that it's sad it got this way and no one's taking care of it. I think we all felt that something needed to be done," U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Dylan Welter said.

The partial government shutdown closed the memorial two weeks ago. Grounds keeping stopped but visitors still come to see the area.

"I know it's one of Hawaii's tourist attractions and it brings a lot of people. Even though it's not open it can still look beautiful," volunteer Kate Reynolds said.

Military police and park rangers checked out the workers but didn't interfere with their efforts. The Park Service declined to comment.

"They never pulled us aside. They never threatened us. They never talked to us. I was very impressed with the fact that they didn't ask us to leave," U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Luke Grim said.

When it is open, the Arizona Memorial draws more than 4,000 people a day. For passersby Monday, the army of volunteers mowing and trimming became the main attraction.

"It looks like it's being professionally manicured at this point. To see all the veterans out here and the military men doing what they're doing is really special," Indiana resident Tim Fish said.

"That was really what we were trying to get across here today is that, to our veterans, we haven't forgotten about you. We will not forget about you," Stone said.

It took two hours to finish the work, a grass roots effort from the ground up.

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