NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – At 13 years old, Preston Sharp is traveling from state to state, placing American flags and flowers on the graves of veterans.
Each of the nearly identical grave sites tells a different story, and he is making sure those stories are never forgotten.
“I’m just trying to give back to all veterans. They worked so hard, they went through so much training. And I’m just trying to give some of that back,” Sharp told CBS2’s Marc Liverman.
On Saturday, he stopped at Cypress Hills National Cemetery in Brooklyn, making New York his 22nd state, so far.
“I got really frustrated that our veterans weren’t be honored on Veterans Day. My mom taught me if you see something wrong, do something about it, don’t complain about it,” he said.
So he did – along with a little help from veterans groups, firefighters and police officers from across the country. His efforts were even acknowledged by President Donald Trump in this year’s State of the Union address.
“He decided to change that and started a movement that has now placed 40,000 flags at the graves of our great heroes. Preston, a job well done,” Trump said.
That job isn’t done yet. Since that address, Sharp has honored more than another 100,000 veterans.
He was joined Saturday by former New York Jet Tony Richardson.
“It really brings chills, but it brings your sense of pride of our country,” he said.
Sharp and his supporters placed more than 4,000 flags and flowers at grave sites, and he plans to cover all 50 states by Veterans Day of next year.
His message is not just for the families of those who have fallen but all our living veterans, too.
“I want them to feel like they will be appreciated once they pass,” he said.
A reminder their service is appreciated not just on Veterans Day but every day.
The Cypress Hills National Cemetery has more than 21,000 military grave sites.