Global Youth Day of Service 2023
Eighty-five youth from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, accompanied by their youth leaders, gathered at the historic Chattanooga National Cemetery on Global Youth Service Day to pay tribute to fallen heroes through acts of service and remembrance. The event was a collaborative effort between the Church and the Chattanooga National Cemetery.
The youth, hailing from various congregations in and around Chattanooga and North Georgia, cleaned headstones to ensure the veterans’ final resting places were well maintained.
According to youth leaders, this initiative not only preserved the cemetery's historical significance, but also fostered a sense of gratitude and respect among the younger generation.
"The most memorable part of the day was cleaning with friends,” said one youth from LaFayette.
“Service is fun when you have a good attitude. We came because we appreciate the men and women who gave their lives for our country and for the ones still serving today,” added another.
Both youth requested anonymity.
For Clark Higdon, a young man from the Ooltewah congregation, this hands-on encounter provided a profound educational opportunity, surpassing the impact of any history lesson. “It was cool seeing all the veterans' names and the wars they fought in. Seeing all the graves made me appreciate all that they [and their families] sacrificed for us,” he said.
Officials said, "The Chattanooga National Cemetery, established in 1863, is considered a solemn testament to the sacrifices made by countless individuals in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. With over 50,000 interments as of 2014, the cemetery holds a rich legacy that speaks to the courage and selflessness of those who served their nation."
“These youth are amazing. They have such a wonderful spirit, and it makes me feel youthful again,” said Chattanooga Tennessee Stake President Jason Isaacson, who serves and ministers to the 13 congregations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in North Georgia and the Chattanooga-metro region. “We're here doing service like the Savior would do. I love that. I love that we're here at the National Cemetery doing things for those that are buried here that they can't do for themselves. We're following the example of Jesus Christ.”