"You'll never get ahead if you don't take care of what you have." - Doris Waddell, RIP

A historic building on our U of M-Morris campus - morris mn

A historic building on our U of M-Morris campus - morris mn
The multi-ethnic building was the original home of the music department at UMM. (B.W. photo)

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Trying to understand Summit Cemetery

I stopped out to Summit Cemetery yesterday (Tuesday) to see if I might remove the flag that I had placed in the ground next to my father's name on our family monument. I half expected it to be gone. I should have fully expected it to be gone. It was of course gone. I had placed it there Sunday morning. I also discovered that I had to wipe off a little bird excrement from our otherwise handsome monument.
I'll repeat: anyone visiting Summit Cemetery is welcome to use our bench monument to sit a spell. That's what I got it for.
The question is the extent to which visitors are even welcome at the cemetery. There continue to be two "no trespassing" messages at one of the entrances. One says "no trespassing" and the other says "trespassers will be prosecuted." So much for a visitor-friendly atmosphere.
I know, I know, our cemetery is located right next to a college, where we might expect the kids to cause problems in an immature way. Personally I don't think college kids are as inclined toward destructive behavior as they once were. Secondly, if any college student who chose to cross the cemetery, in a totally innocent way, were to actually get a trespassing citation from law enforcement, I think a judge would look down on it.
There is a fixture out there that was once subject to vandalism by youth who probably just didn't have enough to occupy their minds. I won't specify what the fixture is, because I don't want to give anyone any ideas. It got repaired and put back into place with some ceremony, and ever since it has sat there just fine - no further problems.
As for my flag, I do have a theory. I believe there is a veterans organization or its auxiliary that places flags around the cemetery, on the official vet markers that have a little hole for inserting the flag. And then I assume these people make the rounds at the end of Memorial Day weekend to retrieve all the flags. Am I correct?
Well, our family monument is not like an official vet marker. My father's service in World War II is specified on our monument: "USN WWII." He was a gunnery commander in the Pacific, very fortunate to have survived all that mayhem. I have written a blog post about Floyd Lange who was not so fortunate in the Pacific. His ship, the USS Luce, was attacked by kamikaze planes in the last stages of the war when the Japanese got desperate. I invite you to read the post:
http://morrisofcourse.blogspot.com/2014/06/floyd-lange-gave-last-full-measure-of.html
 
I had heard the name Floyd Lange for a long time when reporting on the Gold Star Mother/Sister recognition at the Memorial Day program. For almost my entire press career here, I covered those programs at the old elementary auditorium. I remember such a peaceful and soothing atmosphere as the people gathered at that auditorium, listening to Eleanor Killoran playing "It's a Grand Old Flag" on the piano, among other songs.
I buy my own flag each year because I assume we won't automatically get a flag, due to my father's monument not being an official vet marker (with that hole). I bought a package of two flags this year at Family Dollar for a price of $3. So I have a flag left for next year. But I sort of wish it wouldn't disappear so quickly. Why can't the flags remain for a week or two?
I hadn't been to our monument since last July. Last July I found it excruciatingly tempting to pull into a little patch of wide open ground, so as to reduce my mother's walking distance by one-half. My mom is 91 years old, set to turn 92 on June 8. I was sharply verbally reprimanded by a cemetery attendant who was standing about a block away. He couldn't take the trouble to just walk over to us to speak calmly. I subsequently had a little exchange with this individual who said: "We've had idiots drive all over the cemetery." He used the word "idiots" twice.
I contacted two people who I knew had some involvement with the cemetery: Jim Morrison and Bob Stevenson. I used email. I made repeated queries about cemetery parking policy or "etiquette." I couldn't get an answer from either. So finally I decided to bother Blaine Hill, city manager, with an email regarding this. I have known Blaine a long time, going back to when he coached VFW baseball. I once wrote a blog post about Blaine's father Bennie and his amazing service in WWII. Here's a link to that:
http://morrisofcourse.blogspot.com/2013/12/survivor-of-flaming-aircraft-bennie.html
 
Blaine, classy person that he is, answered and said the city had no connection to the cemetery. I searched for a possible Summit Cemetery home page on the Internet. I was hoping to find a list of the board, but no, couldn't find anything. So I'm still adrift in some confusion about policy, about whether visitors are even welcome at Summit Cemetery, and whether you're "donating" a flag if you place one in the ground.
I had always thought a cemetery was like a public park with a relaxed atmosphere, and welcoming of visitors. I have been disappointed to find this is not the case.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

1 comment:

  1. your best bet would to be talk to some at the pedersen funeral home they can tell u who talk to about the cemetary

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