Day 25 of 365 - Of Grave Importance
"Memento Mori" -- Translated meaning "Remember Death"
This is a Latin phrase often found on the stone tablets erected in remembrance of our ancestors, commonly known as gravestones.
Most people fear death. We do all in our power to postpone its inevitability.
Here in Milford, also frequently referred to as the small city with a big heart, we have some of the oldest graves in New England, even some of the oldest in the country.
These memorial stones belong to people like you and me, whom once were living, breathing people who had friends, jobs, families, and feelings. They may even be related to you in some way. Or perhaps you have simply heard their name before. Take a walk into The Old Milford Cemetery and you will find ...
- Johnathon Law
- Mary "Molly" Fowler
- Robert Treat
- Charles Hobby Pond
... just to name a few.
Milford is a city that is proud of its past, and with great reason to be. It is in my honest opinion that we as a city are responsible to keep that history alive. I would bet that you, the reader, are nodding your head in agreement as you read this. If you are, then please do not take this next paragraph lightly.
This weekend I walked through the Milford Cemetery and what I witnessed there filled my heart with deep sorrow - overwhelming dismay and disbelief.
Row after row I discovered neglected vandalized gravestones. Most of them were knocked over, torn from the ground, shattered to pieces, or missing entirely. Trees spray-painted upon with the message "666," commonly linked to satanic worship, surrounded the oldest part of the cemetery.
I even found a PILE of broken gravestones nowhere near their designated plots. They were just stacked up one on top of another to be forgotten as if they were objects of no importance.
It has also come to my knowledge that the "Hearse House" on the property contains other graves torn from the earth that are being stored there with no attempt to "replant" them since they were defiled YEARS ago! The stones that are laying on the ground have grass growing through them as evidence of how long ago they have fallen. I can't think of a more terrible way to destroy the memory of person who has passed on.
You may be asking yourself, "How can this happen?"
Or a better question would be, "Who has allowed this to happen?"
Ray Scholl, the Director of the Milford Cemetery Association.
I'm not one to point fingers, but let me justify my means.
Ray has been the director for roughly 30 years. He is no "newbie" to this job.
I have done thorough research and conducted several interviews with Milford citizens who have made the same effort I'm making in this blog entry, to preserve and rebuild Milford's cemetery.
One man I spoke with confronted Ray about the neglected and deteriorating stones. This man even offered to pay out of his own pocket to revive one of the graves. Long story short, it has been about 4 years now and the stone still lays among the others.
I was appalled upon hearing this. Even after offering to pay for it himself, the problem still exists. This is completely inexcusable. There should be no reason why Ray Scholl, or anyone who works for him should not have fixed AT LEAST that grave. It is his job and we should not need to make sure that it gets done.
Please, take a look at the pictures included with this blog. They document only some of the sad story being told here. To be honest, I couldn't give you an exact count of defiled stones, but I can tell you that it was too many for me to count.
I haven't even mentioned the amount of litter spread about the cemetery grounds. Beer bottles, cigarette butts and boxes, clothing, fast food wrappers, and other various filth are all a present testimony to the disrespect and disregard to our city's beloved.
Under all that vandalism lay the remains of human beings. Would you want to be forgotten and replaced with this filth? I know I wouldn't.
My goal in writing this blog was to inform you of the terrible situation we have in our small city with a big heart. We need that big heart now more than ever to spread the care and attention needed to address this issue.
I will continue to pursue my efforts in this matter. I'm not asking you to join my cause, but simply share my words of concern with as many people as you can. If you find it in your heart to be as serious as I do and wish to join my cause, please comment below or contact me through my email ( FritzPhotographyct@gmail.com )
This is your history Milford ... don't let it fade away.
A message of grave importance