Rememberance Day  

funwithyou602 57F
67 posts
9/19/2005 8:14 pm

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm

Rememberance Day

600 bodies burried in a 40sq.ft. plot. The other site was a 10x10ft. plot with 1,000 urns buried beneath the surface. Who were these people? Numbers, reference numbers. No names, no headstones on their grave. A 40ft. mass grave. I thought they must be shoulder to shoulder or stacked on top of each other and a vision of the graphic videos I have seen of soldiers and prisoners alike dumping bodies into a pit sickened me. State wide there are 20,000 patients buried in such a way.

Individuals confined, both mentally ill and developmentally disabled, to state hospitals were buried with indifference and viewed as undesirables in society thus a decent grave, a name to go along was not even a thought.

These sites were barren, not even a blade of grass while all around them was beautiful green grass so carefully watered, flowers and headstones on each individual grave. These people were loved, buried with care, remembered each sunday. The individuals who died in the state hospitals either had no loved ones or were abandon by their relatives. The state viewed them as steerage, not even worthy of a name, just a reference number. I cannot get over that. That through time, through the injustice of Hitler, we, a civilized and supposedly caring society would do such a heartless thing.

Not widely publicizied, Rememberance Day is about recognizing and reflecting on the individuals who have no one to remember them, no one who even gave a dam about them.We work hard to try and identify these folks and replace their number with a name. It is impossible to place a headstone on each grave not even knowing where each is buried, so we have choosen to put up a memorial with all the names of the individuals buried at each site.

You may think this was long ago, and people are more enlightened to the intrinsic value of each human being but a modern story tells a different tale. A man confined to Napa State hospital before it was closed, had founded a peer support adocacy group. The district director worked closely with him and he was instrumental in helping to try and encourage more decent treatment of all patients trapped in the system. He ultimately died in there and buried in a public cemetary. When the Director went to reflect and remember him, he was buried in one grave and given a headstone, but when she read what was on it she broke down in tears. Engraved on the headstone was a number, nothing more.

When I return back home and sobered by the experience I went to my business of checking my private email. I had given my email to a gentleman I admired and respected from a distance. He left a message and when I read it, I felt insignifant and mildly hurt by it. I understood that he, I am quite sure, had mistaken me for someone else. It happens. I will recover from the blow. I didn't sleep well last night, went to a sad ceremony, was mistaken for someone else and that really is how my day ends. Tommorrow will be a new day. I will start fresh, put all this in it's place and continue with a smile and the old lighthearted me.

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