To the editor:
On a recent visit to Union Cemetery, I was dismayed to find it rather unkempt. My visit occurred on Memorial Day, when the cemetery was busy with visitors tending loved ones' graves and those attending the annual Memorial Day Service.
I have always considered Union Cemetery "the jewel in Steubenville." The grounds were always immaculate and the flowers outstanding. There is so much history there dating back to 1854 when the cemetery was incorporated and the first adult burial was held. There are first settlers of Steubenville, famous individuals and relatives of famous individuals as well as veterans from all wars, including Col. James Collier, a veteran of the War of 1812, buried there.
My dismay came when I saw grass in sections uncut and high, trash containers overflowing and large tree branches down and lying on the ground. Another disturbing fact was Union Cemetery does not have a flag pole at its main entrance. Several years ago it was removed for some reason and never replaced. To this day, it lies in the grass behind the front fence. Shouldn't a place that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places fly the American flag?
What has happened to the pride of the Union Cemetery officials? They certainly cannot blame the high grass on inclement weather. We had 14 days without rain prior to Memorial Day. Union Cemetery has "the reputation of being the second most beautiful cemetery in the United States for natural beauty" (taken verbatim from a map of Union Cemetery, item 13), and I see this slipping away. The definition of perpetual care is "arrangement made by the cemetery whereby funds are set aside, the income is used to maintain the cemetery indefinitely." I see a lack of perpetual care and this saddens me.
Please caretaker and superintendent, give the pride back to Union Cemetery it so deserves.