LINCOLNVILLE, SC (WCSC) - Military families are rallying to preserve an abandoned Lincolnville cemetery with veterans buried from World War I and World War II.
There are also veterans buried dating back to the 1800s.
The cemetery is tucked behind the woods off of Lincolnville near Greenwood Street.
Disabled Veteran Shirley Zinn has been on a mission since 2015 to protect the property and find out who is buried there.
"This angers me. These people are forgotten. How many stones out here say 'gone but never forgotten.' This is forgotten," Zinn said.
For the past few years she along with others have placed flags by the graves of veterans for Memorial Day.
The property has not been maintained so several markers have been covered and it's difficult to walk through the grave site because the grass and plants are overgrown.
"Honestly our veterans need to be honored. We need to have stones where they lay," Zinn said.
Zinn says at least 15 grave markers are gone since her first visit a few years ago.
While at the site she uncovered one today.
"They're not in here or they're so deeply buried we can't find them," Zinn said.
Leaders of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3433 in Ladson are helping to preserve the cemetery.
They have a vision of transforming the space.
"Make it into a park where people can come out and visit their loved ones," said Junior Vice Commander of the VFW Post 3433, Robert Zdenek.
They're asking for help in restoring the property because there is a large amount of work to do.
"For them to be forgotten completely and literally just thrown to the rubble the way this place has been maintained is totally unacceptable," said Commander of the VFW Post 3433 Todd Howard.
The cemetery backs up to the Lakes of Summerville. There's a fence that separates them.
"They deserve to be remembered for their lives for what they've done, not only the veterans but the other people who are buried here as well," District 1 Commander for the VFW Department of South Carolina Edwin Tufts said.
Zinn says in 2015 she counted 27 non-military people buried there and about 21 World War I and World War II veterans buried there.
"If you put on that uniform, no matter what uniform it was, you honored our country and we deserve to honor you back," Zinn said.
The group will attend the Lincolnville Town Hall Meeting next Wednesday at 7 p.m. to make town officials aware of the conditions of the cemetery in hopes of getting help to maintain it.
If you'd like to help with the efforts you can reach the Junior Vice Commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3433 at 843-568-6811.