Editorial: Be respectful of local cemeteries this spring

We recently received a Letter to the Editor that touched upon a topic seldom spoken of in this area: theft of flowers and decorations in our local cemeteries.

The author of the letter asked to remain nameless, for fear that their name in print would result in retaliation directed at their loved one’s gravesite. We respect such wishes, and so the following will simply be attributed to “a local resident”:

“It’s that time of year again when families make their trips to the local cemeteries to remember loved ones lost. Spring flowers (are) planted or set out in flower pots, and Mothers Day through Fathers Day has really become the worst time of year for (cemetery-oriented) theft.

“This year again I have had perennials dug up from the grave plot. It’s disturbing to me and others that some individuals think cemeteries are their own privates nurseries for plants.”

“Blackberry Cemetery was hit hard this spring, with their new maintenance garage broken into, resulting in the theft of lawn care equipment. The personnel at Blackberry take care and pride in keeping the grounds neat and clean, and this comes with a limited budget and the donations of trees planted in memory of loved ones.

“When thefts occur, it not only hurts the families; it also hurts our town. The cemetery is there for its town’s people, too.

“If anyone sees someone (looking) suspicious (at a gravesite), they shouldn’t hesitate to call the police. Making people aware of this ongoing problem might curb this criminal activity.”

As the author stated, taking plants, flowers, decorations or any related equipment from a cemetery is just plain disrespectful to the deceased, their family, and the community as a whole. And as we’re just days away from Memorial Day Weekend, it’s important to get the word out that taking anything from a cemetery and/or gravesite is wrong, and the behavior will not be tolerated.

After all, this is the season to remember our lost loved ones fondly, and we can all help make the process easier by ensuring that our local cemeteries remain intact.