Last Saturday afternoon, my sister and I took a field trip to the Pleasanton City Cemetery. Earlier that morning we had been talking about our own family history, and what we can learn and preserve for prosperity. A lot can be learned about a community by visiting a cemetery. As a side note, none of our family members are buried at this cemetery.
Upon entering the cemetery gate, it appeared as any cemetery. We parked and started walking toward the gate that read “Bonita Hill Cemetery.” Seeing the rock-walled areas, our curiosities were piqued. We were amazed to see the simple, yet historically significant headstones placed inside the walled areas. It was when we began to wander toward the surrounding graves, that we were aghast at the condition of the grave sites. There appeared to be years and years of discarded artificial flower arrangements, weeds, stacks of cut or broken tree limbs, overgrown grass, trash, glass, etc. spilling over onto graves. One could get the feeling that rather than honoring those loved ones by maintaining their final resting place, the placement of the arrangements was just something that “got done.”How difficult is it to remove spent arrangements? In other words, leaving the site with love and respect. (There’s even a dumpster at the entrance to discard old arrangements, but it was filled to the brim.)
Obviously, the significance of the historically placed markers was totally lost amongst this rubbish. Cemeteries are places of history, of loved ones past. They tell a history of the community which has grown up around them. They are and should remain sacred spaces where one can go to visit and contemplate, not a dumpster for discarded memorabilia.
I hope that with the emergence of spring, the Pleasanton City Cemetery Association along with the Atascosa County Historical Society, there will be a “spring cleanup” at this cemetery with a renewed devotion to maintaining the significance of the lives that are laid to rest, large and small. I have faith that people will be encouraged to make a difference starting today.