The recent news story on some cemetery officials who buried people on top of one another or removed bodies to replace them with new burials is a horror story for most of us. In some heavily populated countries, you actually rent a space for a few years, then your remains are removed and the space is rented to someone else. We could come to that if we don’t start honoring and caring for the resting place of our dead.

There is almost no enforcement of cemetery laws in the state of Maine. It is so unusual that it is noteworthy, and I can name only the Kennebec County District Attorney Evert Fowle who can be counted on to pursue a case of cemetery vandalism. But I digress.

It is true that the nation may someday be very pressed for open space as the population grows. Why not make cemeteries into parks, where families can come and picnic, honor their ancestors and commune with the past? We have few such spaces now and they will become even scarcer in the future. Those of us in the Maine Old Cemetery Association love to read and do cemetery rubbings of old stones. Some of the epitaphs are really hilarious. In the days when families stayed close to home, you could do a whole genealogy of a family from one cemetery plot.

They are not places to fear, but places of honor and peace.

Marilyn Burgess, Leeds


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