“The Mark of a Hero”

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.Solace

Sincerely,

Shirl Knobloch

 

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About sknobloch

I am an Author, Artist, and Reiki Master and Intuitive Counselor, offering energy and guidance sessions on people and beloved pet companions. I divide my time between a Northern NJ suburb of Manhattan and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. I enjoy pursuing paranormal explorations in this uniquely haunted town. Read more about me at www.briarrosereiki.com and http://shirlknoblochwillowfineartprintsandphotography.zenfolio.com/ All writings and photos © Shirl Knobloch.......no unauthorized copying or use permitted without written permission from the author and photographer, Shirl Knobloch.
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3 Responses to “The Mark of a Hero”

  1. Catholic Cemeteries says:

    STATEMENT REGARDING VETERAN MARKERS AT CEMETERIES
    The staff of Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Newark empathizes with grieving families who wish to add temporary, personal items to the memorials of their departed loved ones.
    We do not remove permanent monuments or affixed memorializations from any headstone. However, certain cemetery decorations are not permitted since they may present a safety hazard to our visitors and grounds workers. Wooden, glass, plastic or metal items, especially when not permanently affixed to a headstone, can easily become a tripping hazard or a serious threat when airborne from lawn equipment.
    We have an obligation to all the families we serve and to the loved ones interred at our cemeteries to maintain a consistent standard of reverence, safety and appearance around our property. Signs are posted at all locations to notify visitors of routine seasonal clean-up of decorations so families have ample time to remove items they wish to keep. The cemetery staff holds removed personal items for a reasonable period so families may retrieve them. It is not our intention to upset or offend any family or individual.
    We honor and cherish our fallen heroes and veterans, and remember them throughout the year during monthly Masses, Veteran’s Day, Flag Day, and certainly, on Memorial Day. Flags are flown daily in designated areas over all Archdiocesan Cemeteries to honor those presently serving and those who have served. Additionally, we place more than one thousand American flags at the memorials of veterans interred at our Catholic Cemeteries for Memorial Day, and those flags remain through Flag Day.
    All are invited to visit the graves of our fallen heroes as we pray for all our departed loved ones at Memorial Day Mass on Monday, May 29th at 11:00am.

  2. sknobloch says:

    According to the news report, the man found a marker in the garbage, which was not held for retrieval. Also never mentioned in the news report was the subject of safety hazard….May I ask in the decades these markers have stood in the ground, have there been accounts of any injuries. I visit the cemetery often, I see the flags and the memorials to veterans. That is why this news report was so baffling and distressing to watch.

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