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Cooler heads should prevail

Last week, an incident occurred at Resthaven Memorial Gardens in Lanett where a property manager was slapped by a woman during an argument over the cemetery.

The argument’s boiling point was that the cemetery, which has been in rough shape for a few years now and was recently bought by a bank in Salt Lake City, Utah, was in the process of cleaning up the area.

There is a rule in effect designating what can and can not be placed on graves, with the stipulation that workers can remove anything old, worn or faded at any time. This had not been enforced for some time.

Unfortunately, when workers started enforcing the rule it clashed with what many considered proper for the site and tempers flared, leading to the assault and Sheriff’s deputies responding to the scene.

To be sure, the issue over graves is a sensitive one and most people hold the burial site of a loved one as sacrosanct.

However, this particular reason is not one that should have ended in violence.

Cemeteries are unusual in that they are a public space dealing with intensely personal and private emotions. Those who visit usually do so with the intention of decorating to some degree usually with flowers or a flag, or simply paying respect to a lost loved one. Unfortunately, the decorations are not permanent and get damaged,faded or just blown away as time passes.

This is where cleanup crews come in. They are there to keep the plots looking pristine and appealing to passersby.

In this particular situation, those that were most familiar with the area  had grown accustomed to Resthaven’s faded flags, blown-over flowers and unmowed grass. When workers went to clean everything up, some thought the worst and reacted negatively.

Resthaven has come on difficult times, but now that the area has been purchased, it is likely the new owners will work to fix it up.

Let’s just hope that as that process moves forward, cooler heads will prevail.