Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Over!

In Ventura, California, there's a small park that used to be a cemetery.  In order to make "better use" of the land, the city fathers decided to remove the headstones and turn it into a public park. 

Read that again.  They hauled off the headstones, but didn't remove the human remains that the headstones were placed to memorialize.  When I was a kid, I was taught early that you don't walk across graves.  It's disrespectful, and I wouldn't want someone to run around over my grave, so I don't do it to other people.

One of the remaining headstones is for Pvt. James Sumner.  Pvt. Sumner was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Grant for actions he took while fighting Apaches in Arizona Territory.  Today, his grave is open for anyone who is using the park to run across, let their dog use as a toilet, or have a picnic.

Here's the money quote:
"We are treating him pretty darn well, except for the poop,"
The good people of Ventura seem to be good hearted, but absolutely clueless about respect for the dead.  
 "The people who use the park are the most reverent, in my opinion. Sometimes, people will come up and pick up my dog's poop before I have a chance," said Beverly Karbum, 58, who was walking her Australian shepherd Roxanne.
OK, for a moment, let's forget that this cemetery holds the final resting place of a military hero.  Let's just say it contains the mortal remains of several thousand human beings, who were laid to rest there.  Why in the name of all that is holy did the city of Ventura think it would be a good idea to take away the grave markers, leave the remains, and let people walk their dogs over the top of it, even if they are going to clean up what the dogs leave behind?

And it's even worse that the grave of a man who earned our nation's highest honor is being desecrated.  Some veterans want to move his grave to a veterans' cemetery in Bakersfield, but that leaves behind the thousands of graves that are being walked on.

If Ventura wants to make this land a general use park, then they should move all of the graves, bodies included, to another location where they will be protected.  Failing that, they should fence off the area where the graves are located, and add parkland adjacent to the cemetery.  All of the grave markers should be placed back over their original graves, and the people of Ventura should learn how to show respect for the dead.

H/T to Spike over at the GBC.

1 comment:

JP said...

See the big comment regarding this on my post linking to yours here. Its insane.

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