Excuse Me – Is That Your Grave?

Graves at Arlington National Cemetery

Image via Wikipedia

Imagine this scenario:

It’s a bright, summer afternoon and you decide to visit your loved one’s final resting place. Let’s call your loved one Bob. You buy a lovely bouquet of Bob’s favorite flowers and are looking forward to spending some quality time at Bob’s gravesite. But when you get to the cemetery, you see someone else sobbing over Bob’s headstone!

“Excuse me, I don’t mean to interrupt,” you say. “May I ask how you knew Bob?”

“Who’s Bob? I thought this was Pete’s grave,” says the stranger.

Oops.

(OK, ignore the fact that this whole issue could easily be solved just by reading the name on the headstone. Let’s just pretend it was a blank headstone. Hey, it happens!)

Apparently, this kind of thing happens all the time. Cemeteries across the nation suffer from mismanagement, corruption and non-existent budgets, leading to bodies buried on top of each other, wrong headstones placed on graves and inaccurate record keeping. There are almost too many scandals involving cemeteries to count nowadays, with some of the more notable ones being the Arlington National Cemetery debacle and the Burr Oak Cemetery disgrace.

I think this kind of thing is unforgivable. There is no excuse for cemetery ‘management’ to mess with my loved one’s remains. At least at Arlington and Burr Oak, someone was held accountable for their actions (or inaction). But what about all the other forgotten burial grounds that have been taken over by weeds and trash? Who is responsible for those graves?

We are. And that means we should also be held accountable for not taking care of those cemeteries. The way we treat our dead now is a sign of how our children will treat us in the future. And it’s not looking good, folks.

Do you know of any forgotten or abandoned cemeteries in your area?

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