The removal of mementoes and objects from Canyon View Cemetery is an incredibly poor error in judgement.
The items were removed recently as municipal crews were doing maintenance at the cemetery.
By doing this, the workers violated extremely personal spaces.
It has been said that a grave is a place to mark one’s place in the world. It is also a place for family and friends to remember and grieve the loss of a loved one.
Headstones are in place at most of the graves, but many families also will leave flowers or mementoes. Small statues, plaques and gifts have been placed at many of the graves.
A municipal policy prohibits many of the items at graves, but this policy had not been enforced in the past.
With these items in place, the cemetery felt like a place of remembrance and a place where Summerlanders could mourn in their own ways.
When the items were removed, the cemetery felt much colder, much less inviting. An expression of grief has been denied.
This decision affects the entire community.
Most Summerlanders know people who are buried at Canyon View Cemetery. Many of us have buried our own loved ones there. We have a connection to the place.
Removing the items from the graves was not just a poor decision on the part of the municipal workers. It was also a violation of personal spaces and a betrayal of trust for those who had placed items at the graves.
People are outraged over the lack of respect shown at the cemetery. Trust has been lost.
It is now time for apologies and it is time to do whatever is necessary to correct the damage, as much as is possible.
And it is time to revisit the policy about items placed on graves, so an incident like this one will not happen again.