MEDIA CONTACT: Julie Willmot
HAMILTON, N.J.- Over the past week, Mercer County has conducted Operation White Stone, a program to maintain the headstones at the graves of County veterans buried in the Field of Honor section of Greenwood Cemetery.
Some 1,400 headstones will be cleaned of dirt and debris using water from high-pressure power washers in order to return them to their original, dignified white appearance.
Surrounded by local veterans clad in jackets and hats reflecting their branch of military service or tour of duty, Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes today first thanked the veterans for their service to their country and then explained why Operation White Stone is performed. "This service is one that is simple but very important," said Hughes. "Over time, the limestone grave markers become streaked with gray from the elements. The cleansing returns the stones to their pristine condition and illustrates that the respect we have for our veterans continues after death. We have made a promise to keep this Field of Honor section meticulously groomed out of respect, and we will keep that promise."
Operation White Stone is performed at no cost to taxpayers. The program is conducted by utilizing the low-risk inmates of Mercer County Correction Center's Superintendent Labor Assistance Program (S.L.A.P.) and with the assistance of Hamilton's Fire District 4 and the Mercer County Fire School. The S.L.A.P. workers power wash the headstones with water supplied by a District 4 fire engine. Also in attendance was Freeholder Anthony Carabelli.
Operation White Stone is held every other year at Greenwood Cemetery. Edward Mazzeo, Chief of the Mercer County Office of Veteran Services, said approximately 1,400 limestone headstones will be cleaned during the week of April 21.
Mercer County's annual Memorial Day observance will be held Sunday, May 25, at 11 a.m. in the Field of Honor section of Greenwood Cemetery on Hamilton Avenue.