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Rural cemeteries worth the effort

May is National Rural Cemetery Month. It also is the month in which we celebrate Memorial Day, when many will be visiting cemeteries to remember those who died in military service. Both occasions give us reason to take a look at the smaller, more out-of-the-way cemeteries in our communities (or out in the woods somewhere), and do what we can to clean up and preserve them.

Ohio’s Department of Commerce — Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing is in charge of ensuring proper maintenance and operation of cemeteries in the state, and reminded residents this week to report any concerns they encounter when visiting cemeteries over the next few days to the property owners.

“Memorial Day is a sacred time of remembrance in the United States,” said Commerce Director Sherry Maxfield. “We want to ensure a positive visit for everyone visiting Ohio cemeteries to honor their loved ones and heroes. For that to happen, cemetery owners need to be aware of issues and our agency needs to know if the problems can’t be resolved locally.”

Cemeteries are not only the resting place of our families’ loved ones, they are full of history. Those interred in cemeteries large and small deserve our respect. And, while some clean-up jobs might not be easy, they deserve the effort and care it takes to keep those resting places safe and accessible. State guidelines include cutting grass at least once a month, removing trash and funeral flowers monthly, maintaining and repairing roads, and keeping buildings and fencing structures in good shape.

Again, that is no easy task for some rural cemeteries, but it is worth the effort.

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