Where the Dead are Unnamed

Now this is a strange one… The following teaser is from an article by Amanda Norris, posted in the April 5, 2013 Virgin Islands Daily News. Click on the link at the end of the excerpt, and dead the full article – then just shake your head in wonder…

ST. THOMAS [U.S. Virgin Islands] ­- Lydia Martin installed her husband’s remains in a vault at Smith Bay Eastern Cemetery in 2007.

The 149 plots in two vaults near the entrance to the cemetery have never had headstones. The rows of blank, gray concrete squares contain no names or dates and bear no decorations.

The $1,514 that Public Works charged the families of the deceased for the plots includes the cost of a headstone, and the department assumes responsibility for its installation.

However, issues with the surface of the vaults at the time of construction in 2006 have prevented the department from fulfilling this duty to the deceased and their families, according to Public Works Commissioner Darryl Smalls.

Martin said that, like many with loved ones in the plots, she had marked her husband’s plot by inscribing his name, birth date and death date, in the wet concrete after the installation of his remains.

She was aghast when she found two years ago that Public Works had removed the inscription and all others like it.

After a funeral parlor told her that she could not purchase and install a headstone for Smith Bay Eastern Cemetery, she said those markings were the only way to identify her husband’s plot.

Read the full article by Amanda Norris.

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