Writeryogini

Writeryogini

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Not so fast Mr. Cemetery Director...

This is an update to my post earlier in the day. We had heard from a bureaucrat at the VA and thought perhaps we were at the end of options regarding the whole "you can't walk in the cemetery thing." That's what I wrote about this morning - and thank you all of you who left comments. I have to say that I felt deflated. But then ... I got angry... and it takes a LOT to make me angry.

We have replied to the VA bureaucrat and pushed back. We have some other steps to take - as some of you suggested - letters to the paper and such. There is a local TV guy who is interested in this - we had just wanted to give folks a chance to make the right decisions on their own. That hasn't happened, so we will continue in whatever ways we can, as long as it makes sense to do so. This is wrong, and we aren't going away easily!!

This is what I put up this morning:

So we got an email from the VA today saying that although the regulations covering National Cemeteries CLEARLY allow walking, hiking and casually strolling in the cemeteries, the individual Cemetery Director has the discretion to decide NOT to allow walking there if it appears to HIM that you are walking there primarily for exercise.

So, HE gets to decide what YOUR intent is. We walked there because my husband is a veteran, and because it is a peaceful and spiritual place. We liked to stop and pay our respects along the way. At Christmas, we laid wreaths at the markers for the Unknowns. We were quiet and respectful. Were we getting exercise? Sure, but so what! Every time you put one foot in front of the other, it's exercise! We weren't running or skipping or jogging. RVPainter is almost 72, and I have trouble keeping up with him, but he's not THAT fast :-)

I don't think there's much else we can do with this - RVPainter and I will discuss and decide about that. It feels very wrong, but it appears that the VA is standing behind their dictator man.

If you're not up to speed on this little drama of ours, you can read the original story HERE

34 comments:

  1. May I suggest you put an article in the local newspaper? Local seniors denied paying respects to the dead or something of that ilk?

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  2. This is the craziest thing I've ever heard. I always see tons of walkers in the cemeteries around here. I'm sorry this director is such a jerk!

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  3. What an idiot that man is! A real jobsworth if ever there was one.

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  4. Hi Ladies - thank you for the support. Initially, I felt defeated. Now I feel mad again. I think we will respond - the VA response simply reeked of "standing behind their man." I think we will call them on that, and there is also a chance we'll contact Christian Davenport at the Washington Post - he recently broke stories about mismanagement of the VA cemeteries. This is small compared to that, but he might be interested.

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  5. I was going to suggest contacting this man directly. Perhaps if you were able to put in writing, nice and calmly without him being able to interrupt, exactly what you've said here, he might change his mind. Surely laying a wreath puts you slightly above someone just out for a stroll?

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    1. Hi Annalisa,
      We did write to him, but we are not worthy of a response, I'm afraid :-(

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  6. I am so sorry to hear that. I would not give up on this one. The man is wrong.

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    1. Debby,
      We've decided not to give up. You are right. The man is WRONG.

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  7. That's our government in action for you. Always thinking of the people first.
    How nuts is that!!! I'd be tempted to keep walking there and tell him to call the police. Video the whole thing. Take it to court. What the heck! Ridiculous!

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    1. Thanks Rita - we aren't letting it drop!

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  8. This is definitely something that would end up on our evening news. After that exposure, you should be able to walk through the cemetery in peace. Some things are just wrong...this is one.

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    1. Thanks Stephanie, we will definitely try to get some attention on it.

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  9. A comment from Melissa's (almost 72 year YOUNG DH) The Dictator of the SFNC has not won yet! We are merely re-grouping - strength in numbers - etc etc. In reading the reply from the "person" who was playing CYA - it clearly states that walking through the cemetery as a show of respect, (not for exercise) is "allowed and encouraged." OK - I'm encouraged - I'll walk slower - we will still straighten flower vases that the wind has blown over, we will continue to stop and reflect at various graves, offer a prayer or two and read the stone to try to understand the story that is being told. It seems to me that this is an issue of how fast one walks as fastness relates to exercise.

    Walk slowly it's not exercise - it is a casual walk through - walk fast - it's exercise!

    Problem solved DW!

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  10. I like the idea above of contacting your local paper or writing an article about this. It's just not right.

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    1. Thanks Inger, I really feel heartsick about this. Not just for us, but for the little old man we encountered there one day who was also told he couldn't walk. He said that he plans to be buried there, and likes to see how it will feel!

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  11. Here in the peaceful little city of Guelph Ontario we have a most beautiful and well maintained cemetery. They have regular events that the public can attend for example mothers day..and..they ENCOURAGE people to use the roads for walking and running. They say it makes the cemetery and its inhabitants a part of the life of the city and that, they say, is important. We have our "vacation" plot there already and we drop in quite often, sometimes just to enjoy the peace and quiet and sometimes to take photos for people who want a picture of their family members stone. I would be devastated if I couldn't go there whenever I wanted to.

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    1. That is how we feel too Delores - devasted by the actions and behavior of this person that has taken away something that meant a lot to us.

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  12. Hey Melissa and RVPainter, I was going to stop by this morning and read your post after I saw the title, but never made it. I'm glad you reposted it and are NOT giving up!! That jerk is on an Ego Trip. He may think he's bigger and better than anyone else...but what he's proving is that he is actually as tiny as a run of the mill ant! Keep on fightin'!

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    1. Tiny little man :-)
      Thanks Becky xo

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  13. Newspaper, radio, television, town cryer. Let that moron have it. This is what I think: he was quoting a regulation that he wasn't completely familiar with. Then, when he got called on it, he made some BS statement that it was his discretion whether to allow walkers. He got caught in a mistake and is stubbornly refusing to admit he was an idiot.

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    1. I like how you think Al! This is essentially what happened.

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  14. I'm glad you're going to fight it. You guys have every right to be there. Now, if you were doing cartwheels through the graves or little dances on them, that would be on thing. I hope the news brings some attention to this, and that there is a higher up that will allow it. Really, how dare they??!

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse, co-host of the 2012 #atozchallenge! Twitter: @AprilA2Z

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    1. Shannon - How dare they is exactly what we said! Thanks so much for the support. It's definitely motivating us.

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  15. I'm with everyone else. Do you walk with signs on your backs saying things like 'Disrespectful person out for exercise'? You don't? Then he cannot claim to know why you are there. Fight him to the end, and let us rage behind you.

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    1. Thank you so much. It really helps when people support us, because otherwise you second guess yourself. You made me smile about the signs on the t-shirts.

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  16. It's good to see you pursuing with this Melissa because he is indeed in the wrong. You and your husband should have every right to step foot in that cemetery and pay your respects. The whole thing seems a little ridiculous... surely there's other, more harmful things they could be focusing their efforts and energy on?!

    Hope it all works out for you Melissa!

    PS - On a separate note, how's the writing coming along? :)

    Megan @ Storybook Love Affair

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    1. Hi Megan, He really is SOOO wrong, isn't he? :-) We are at least going to be as bothersome about it as we can possibly be.

      Re: the writing,it's going well! I've got the 1st 2 chapters solid, and the next 3 sketchy. I have good ideas about what will happen. I want it to be wonderful, so I'm not rushing. I think realistically that I can finish it by the end of the year, and have it published in the 1st half of next. This Christmas will be another push for The Christmas Village. The sequel doesn't take place at Christmas, but there is a fun backdrop for it. I'm excited about it, and I'm glad you are too. XXOO

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    2. Sounds exciting! Hope you have a fun time writing it and all the best with the cemetery stuff!

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  17. What a disrespectful tit. Obviously he doesn't know what exercise is. He's just being a bully. Why is it always the worst people that get to control things, doesn't make sense.

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    1. It is one of those inexplicable rules isn't it!

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  18. Dear Melissa,
    This is truly exasperating. Did your letters to the paper prompt any response? If so, maybe you could all get together--with placards--and stand outside the cemetery and protest the director's dictum. Or, you could call him and ask for a meeting and then tell him all the reasons you are in the cemetery. Those reasons, as you outlined them today for us, are wonderfully written. You might send him a letter with the reasons in it. Please don't give up.

    Peace.

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    1. Thanks Dee! We've written him, but we've also written the paper, and they will be putting it in. I said it even better in that letter :) Will keep you posted!

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  19. First, how exciting about your East Coast Tour! And the VA? Good luck. My husband is a Vietnam veteran and has been waiting for 1 1/2 years to get in to see them about some health issues. Whenever he calls, they tell him 2 weeks, 2 weeks, then another 2 weeks. It's very frustrating. Whew! Sorry, didn't plan on a rant when I got here. I'm stopping by from the campaign to introduce myself. And I'm headed to your follower button now.

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    1. Hi Lady Gwen! My mom's name was Gwendolyn and went by Gwen, so I love everyone named Gwen. :-) Yes, the VA ... Well, at this point our goal is just to make them waste time on us, we don't expect satisfaction. But our issue is principle, and you have one that is more serious and it really bugs me that this happens to our veterans. Thanks for coming and following, and I'll go find you in the campaign too.

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