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The Disgrace…

February 25, 2013

It was a beautiful church, first established in the early 1800s in the little Canadian village.  Over the next two centuries the church building was rebuilt twice.  The final structure was a beautiful stone building with stained-glass windows, but it no longer exists.  The church was closed, and the building demolished about 10 years ago because of declining parish numbers…that’s something that is not uncommon.

Surrounding the church was the parish cemetery with tombstones dating back to the early 1800s.  This cemetery is one of three in the village and actually across the street from the other oldest cemetery established by one of the founding fathers.  Both of these cemeteries are special to me because they are the resting place of many of my ancestors.

We had driven into the village, something we’ve done periodically, just to see our old homesteads and talk about the way things used to be.  As we pulled up to the front of the cemetery, we were shocked at what we saw.  There were more tombstones knocked over and lying on the ground than were standing upright like they should have been.  It left us speechless.  As we walked around, I began counting the number of damaged tombstones.  I had to stop at 75…I just couldn’t go on.

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2012 JSD Photographs

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

2012 JSD Photographs

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

2012 JSD Photographs

There was a sign posted by the diocese stating simply that the tombstones were being restored.

Really?  Really?  It seems implausible to me that this many tombstones would deteriorate all at the same time due to Mother Nature.  My first thought was that there were other hands behind all this damage.

So now I’m wondering:  Who did this and why?  Why this old cemetery and not the other?  Do they have no respect for the many strong, courageous people who came to this wilderness 200+ years ago and established this great little village?  What is wrong with these people?

Or am I wrong?

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. Betsy Cushman permalink
    February 25, 2013 12:54 pm

    What is wrong with these people, indeed! This is an important story. Thank you for sharing it. Wouldn’t it be great if your story was passed along and so moved the village that they restore and appreciate the history before even these remaining stones are gone, too.

    • February 25, 2013 1:15 pm

      Yes, it would be nice if they were ‘moved’ but I don’t see that happening. Many of the old families are gone, and with them goes appreciation of the history.

  2. February 25, 2013 12:55 pm

    That was happening in New England a few years ago. Vandalism. Now these peaceful places are surrounded by chain link fences. So sad.

    • February 25, 2013 1:18 pm

      Unfortunately, vandalism never seems to go away.

  3. February 25, 2013 12:57 pm

    I couldn’t bring myself to hit the ‘like’ button because there is nothing to like about it. We have the same issue here with some of our older cemeteries, and I am always at a loss. I understand young people find their fun in different places than mature adults do but I’ve never figured out what is fun about destroying a cemetery that is dedicated to our forefathers. There is something wrong with our society when we are not outraged by this. Maybe there needs to be a video game that puts cemeteries in good condition and they would get the picture because it seems like if it isn’t on a video game, smart phone, tablet, reader, or computer they may not get it.

    • February 25, 2013 5:58 pm

      What you say is so true, and it’s sad. 😦

  4. February 26, 2013 3:27 pm

    There have been random acts of vandalism in cemeteries in/around where I live. That is clearly what this is – these stones didn’t fall over on their own. I don’t understand how anyone can destroy headstones. It’s absolutely horrific.

    • February 26, 2013 4:41 pm

      I believe this isn’t too far from you. And I totally agree with you! My concern is where are the adults who are raising these people?

  5. February 26, 2013 7:50 pm

    I’m sorry to hear of this willful disrespect and I can understand your shock and dismay.

  6. February 28, 2013 7:41 am

    The same thing happened here a few years ago. The only thing I can come up with is that there are people with too little to do and too little sense of history and family. They also need to feel powerful, and how better to do that than to attack those who can’t speak up and can’t fight back? The best response would be for the rest of the community to show up and quietly fix the damage.

    • February 28, 2013 7:53 am

      I would think that’s exactly what has happened. I hope once repairs are made that will be the end of it. But we have to teach our young people the meaning of ‘respect’ and I think lack of respect is a growing problem everywhere.

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