We've all read in the papers, or actually seen the results in person, of cemetery vandalism.
This past Memorial Day, my Dad and I went to our local cemeteries where for years we have honored our ancestors by laying flowers upon their graves. The vandalism was rampant in even our rural neck of the woods!
It is heartbreaking to see such disrespect for those who have lived and died in our communities, and especially when it is some of our ancestor's graves.
Well, one Marshall, MN "Independent" newspaper reader offers a suggestion on how to treat those individuals who commit such crimes as vandalism of our cemeteries in the following editorial:
"A slap on the wrist won’t cut it
POSTED: October 12, 2008
To the editor:
The act of vandalism at the cemetery ("Headstones Target of Vandalism in Marshall," Sept. 30) is a prime example of the lack of respect some have for those who came before us. Many believe that those who are responsible should simply be put into jail, that punishment alone is enough to prevent future criminal behavior. Unfortunately, punishment alone will not teach those responsible the respect which they so obviously lack.
To prevent those responsible from repeating this offensive and disrespectful act, and to attempt to prevent them from committing future criminal acts, the community must be involved in whatever sentence the court metes out.
This writer would suggest having the perpetrators assist in the clean-up of the cemetery and the repair of the headstones. The offenders might also learn something from doing genealogical research on those who are buried in the cemetery, primarily those whose headstones were vandalized. As the article mentioned the majority of the headstones damaged were from the late 1800s, and those who are buried there may no longer have family in the area. A simple apology letter seems to be the norm for acts of vandalism, and a letter sent out of town isn't much for someone to write, but if that letter contained the history of their ancestor, researched by the person who showed such disrespect, then maybe it wouldn't be quite so simple. Maybe it would actually mean something, both to the recipient and to the writer.
What a grand idea!!