PLANET’s Renewal and Remembrance event in July has become a part of the Kuperus Family and Farmside Landscape summer plans and we always strive to make sure we can fit it in. When we first attended the event, about 10 years ago, we took the family, including our infant son carried on our back, and ‘watched’ as all the work took place and were amazed! We were very unfamiliar with this special day and what was involved and wanted to learn more. After ‘watching’ we were hooked and the next year we came with workboots and tools in hand ready to go! We have been participating in R&R for over 10 years now. What is so special about this event is it never gets old. From the opening ceremonies with the Color Guard, presentations from member veterans – to watching the Caissons in a funeral procession – it is humbling and honoring to give back at a National level.
We especially enjoy this event as we have been able to participate with our kids and watch them ‘grow through’ the Children’s Program that educates children about the cemetery, participate in a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns on PLANETS behalf and help install a simple planting at the Cemetery. After all these years three of our five children are working with the adults on other teams, one is assisting with the Children’s program and one still participates in the Children’s program. It has been fun to watch other companies and families also ‘grow along’ with this event as we even have grandchildren coming now. I believe that this is an important part of the program to carry on to the next generations the act of appreciation and giving back.
By participating in this event, we have been challenged to bring something home to our local veterans and show our gratitude at the local level. Watching the funerals that happen their while you are working gives you a heightened awareness to the reality of sacrifice which is very difficult to put words too. Fortunately, we at Farmside, were able to connect with a local veteran a few years ago and ‘bring this act of service and honor home’ and create a Veterans Memorial in our town park, which was then re-named – a Veterans Memorial Park.
We are grateful to Arlington National Cemetery for allowing PLANET the honor and privilege to give back this way each summer. This is an opportunity we never take for granted. I would highly recommend you, your family, and your business to ‘check this event out’ – and join in with a great team of volunteers giving back to our country.