Near my hometown in New Jersey, lies a beautiful cemetery, Holy Cross in North Arlington. It is a reverent place because it holds the remains of many, many veterans, some who came home only to be placed in its soil. My Uncle was one of them. He perished in the forests of the Ardenne, at the Battle of the Bulge. He has a tiny stone, flat to the ground with his unit on it, surrounding him are many who died the same week………I wonder sometimes, if they were buddies then and now…….
The news reported yesterday that the Archdiocese of Newark has made the decision to remove all veterans’ markers placed at headstones. A son had visited his dad and discovered it missing, questioned the cemetery and learned its surprising fate. He found a marker in the garbage and placed it back on his father’s grave. Then, he called the local news station and related the event….. The news questioned the cemetery. Their response was something to this effect, though put into my own words…….
In seeking to maintain a pristine appearance, we feel the markers detract from this.
Since when are veterans’ markers an eyesore……these boys, and most were only boys, faced incredible tests of bravery and spirit that most of us will never comprehend. Is a stake in the ground too much to ask to remember their heroism?
It just falls beyond my realm of understanding. I have walked this cemetery and taken hundreds of photographs……I photograph the little mementos on graves and I photograph the exquisite statuary that are fading from modern cemeteries today, bereft of any thing left in the way on the grave.
What a shame……the cemetery informed the news that a family member can place another veterans’ marker on a grave but it, too, will be taken during the next clean up.
Boys were taken from mothers, my grandmother being one of them. Now to take a tiny marker, insignificant to those in charge, but so very significant to those who wept for what was lost is disgraceful………
Please SHARE this blog with veterans and veterans’ groups and perhaps we can change this decision…….We cannot change those lost so long ago…..but we can keep change from diminishing their worth.