‘I want them to be remembered’: Somerset girl raising money to decorate child graves

Published: Sep. 3, 2020 at 3:33 PM EDT
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SOMERSET, Ky. (WYMT) - Thousands of graves stretch across Somerset Cemetery, but the graves of children are the focus for 12 year-old Gracie Honeycutt.

“I’m so blessed. I have everything I would ever need and they didn’t even get to live,” said Honeycutt.

When Honeycutt was just five years old, she and her family were decorating the headstones of family members on Memorial Day when Honeycutt saw the grave of Virginia Abbott. Virginia died in 1913 at just ten months old.

“I just kinda stomped my foot down and was like, I’m not leaving until we put flowers on here and we’ve just been doing it ever since now,” said Honeycutt.

Each year on Memorial Day, it became a tradition to decorate Virginia’s grave after placing flowers at the graves of her family.

“They’re so young and a lot of people don’t know them. A lot of their family probably didn’t even know them and once their parents have passed on they have no one to decorate them,” said Honeycutt. “Even if their family is still alive, I want them to see it and be like, ‘Somebody cares. Somebody is willing to go out and do something kind for someone else’ and just to have them smile just because I just want them to be remembered.”

She even started decorating other graves in the cemetery of children 12 and younger. This year, weeks after decorating 50 stones, Honeycutt visited the cemetery only to find all the flowers gone.

“They deserve so much more than that, because any of these stones they don’t deserve to be torn up like that,” Honeycutt said. “They’re still people their not just a stone.”

This sparked motivation in Honeycutt and she started what she is calling ’Virginia’s Project’. She is raising money to decorate every grave in the cemetery of children 12 and younger with pinwheels. Honeycutt walked the entire cemetery to find 579 graves.

“I want them to kind of like stick out from everything else. I don’t want them to just be regular flowers and it’s kinda like a toy. Just thought it would be cuter than flowers,” said Honeycutt.

On October 16, Virginia’s birthday, Honeycutt and volunteers will decorate all 579 graves.

“My mom and me have said several times that this would be like her birthday party,” Honeycutt said.

She set a goal of raising $500, but so far she has raised nearly $1,200.

Last week, Somerset Mayor Alan Keck presented Honeycutt with the Light of Somerset award as well as $250 for her project.

Honeycutt does have a GoFundMe to raise money.

She hopes volunteers will come out to Somerset Cemetery on October 16 to help decorate the graves.

Copyright 2020 WYMT. All rights reserved.

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