Thursday, April 16, 2009

Grave News: Vet's Headstones Used to Build Patio

In Nevada, veterans are upset with the news that a cemetery employee used headstones to pave his patio. The headstones were "retired" stones that had incorrect information or had been replaced for other reasons, so it's not quite like he was secretly stealing stones directly from the graves. Still, given the symbolism attached to Veteran's markers, it wasn't a good idea. It does bring up a question - what do you do with a headstone that's been replaced? In one of my previous posts I talked about the headstones of Civil War soldiers that were being replaced in Durham. I'm not sure what is being done with the replaced stones there, but I hope a few of them find their way to local museums and/or the state archives since they do have some historical significance. The headstones at the cemetery in Nevada are a different matter as they're modern stones. Perhaps following the tradition of American flags would be best - they could be reduced to gravel with due ceremony and the gravel used in the cemetery, or kept intact and put to some other useful purpose within the cemetery, one which provide a more honorable retirement than a patio.

Every day on my walk to campus I see a lone footstone. I can only pray that it was replaced by the family and not one that was stolen or illegally removed from some family plot - it's not uncommon for land owners to try to hide the presence of cemeteries when land is being sold to developers (and lots of developers are apparently very lax about researching the history of the land they're buying), and one way of "hiding" a cemetery is secretly removing all the markers and making sure they wind up far away. Here's a photo:

Stepping Stone


When you're out and about on your own wanderings, keep an eye out for orphaned stones like this. They turn up in unexpected places (I remember reading about one that served as the pastry counter in a suburban house - the flat side was used for rolling out doughs and the carvings were used as molds for decorative elements) at unexpected times. That strangely shaped piece of marble at the edge of a flower bed might be more than just a decorative touch... Sphere: Related Content

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