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Landscaping Industry Unites At Arlington Cemetery For Day Of Service

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By Jonathan Wilson

Today, much of the nation's landscaping industry united in Northern Virginia to do its part to care for America's most sacred ground: Arlington National Cemetery.

Vietnam Veteran Jim Barrett is watching a crew of workers roll a high-tech plow back and forth on a patch of grass on top of a hill in the cemetery.

"It's called a vibratory plow and it installs pipe in the ground without having to open up a trench, so there's a lot less physical work, and it's a lot neater and cleaner when it's finished," he says.

Barrett is a professional irrigation consultant. He came here from New Jersey, and nearly 500 other landscaping professionals from across the country joined him.

They're here for the Professional Landcare Network's 14th annual Renewal and Remembrance day. The group has donated an estimated $2 million worth of landscaping work to the cemetery over the years.

David Snodgrass, the group's president, says to be able to offer their expertise to the cemetery's green space is special.

"We create beautiful green spaces, and to be able to do it here is amazing, and for such a good cause," says Snodgrass.

Barrett says this year may be even more special, considering the recent run of bad news about poor management and mismarked graves emerging from the cemetery.

"My first reaction to that was a little bit of disappointment, and you also feel, is there something we can do to help," he says. "This is not much, but it's a little bit."

This week, leaders in the group also head to Capitol Hill to speak with legislators about issues such as water restriction and immigration laws.

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