Decoration day according to the big orange signs recently placed at the Great Bend City Cemetery reads:
“Memorial Day Decorations – No decorations may be placed on the ground on a gravesite prior to noon on the Thursday prededing Memorial Day.”
On May 17, 2014 (last Memorial Day), I placed several bouquets of white roses on my wife’s grave at the cemetery. I noted at that time that there were several other cars in the cemetery with people who were also cleaning up and decorating the grave sites of their loved ones. On the evening of May 22, I noted that the flowers which I had placed on my wife’s grave were not there. I called the cemetery to advise them that the flowers had been stolen and was informed that the flowers were not stolen, that they had been removed by the cemetery staff and thrown away. Together staff had removed five 55-gallon barrels of flowers, which had been placed on graves.
Since Memorial Day 2014 I have appeared at two meetings of the Cemetery Board explaining my feelings regarding the throwing away of my flowers.
The Great Bend Cemetery Board at its Feb. 26, 2015, meeting adopted the following proposal:
“Flowers may be placed on the graves for the Memorial Day Holiday beginning at 5 p.m. the Friday of the weekend one week prior to the actual holiday; flowers must be removed from the grave site by 8 a.m. the Monday following the holiday.”
This proposal was made in order to accommodate out of town citizens who wish to decorate graves prior to Memorial Day, making two weekends available to decorate graves. There was discussion regarding the effect of limiting the cemetery staff to fewer mowing and clean-up days immediately prior to Memorial Day. Subsequent to this meeting and on March 15, the cemetery staff requested that this proposal be revisited, again claiming that it was more important to mow the grass than it was for citizens and out of towners to decorate the graves of their loved ones.
There is a petition being circulated and signed by numerous residences requesting that the city council approve the following:
“Flowers may be placed on the graves Memorial Day each year beginning at 5 p.m. the Friday of the weekend one week prior to Memorial Day and must be removed from the gravesite one week following Memorial Day.”
A petition is available for signing at my office, 2109 12th St., and its adoption can be accomplished by making your feelings known to your city council member.
Brock R. McPherson