Friday, January 18, 2013

202. You Think You Have Cemetery Problems?

Here in Indiana, we have occasional problems with cemetery preservation. Some cemeteries suffer acts of vandalism, some cemeteries are abandoned and overgrown, some cemeteries are moved without notice or permission. All in all, though, our ancestral graves don't have it so bad. We could live in China.
            The January 16th issue of USA Today carried the story of the tomb flatteners of Zhoukou City in Henan Province. The government paid officials of that area about $500,000 for their 2012 feat of removing over 2,000,000 ancestral tombs in order to recover farmland or building sites. Yes, you read that right--2 million tombs!
            It has sparked a little controversy, some blogging and twittering and rioting, but the graves are gone and the reclaiming is underway. In Indiana that would be half the graves in the state, or probably more. Would we tolerate that? Would Governor Pence hear from us? Would that unite the Red folks and the Blue folks? One would hope so.
            When our genealogy genes compel us to clean up a Hoosier cemetery or two, maybe we should gripe a little less about it and charge ahead willingly. Just keep in mind--The tomb flatteners are always out there!

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