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Cemetery Grass Upsets Those Honoring Veterans

By Melissa Newton, CBS 11 News
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Cemetery Overgrowth

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GRAND PRAIRIE (CBSDFW.COM) – The nation and North Texas are pausing this Memorial Day to honor the sacrifices of our war veterans, but some families feel like their military loved ones have been forgotten.

At Southland Memorial Park in Grand Prairie, the headstones of some fallen heroes were hard to find beneath the overgrown grass and weeds.

“This is injustice, this is not right!” said Jan Hyde, whose mother and father, a WWII veteran, are buried in the cemetery. “My dad’s was completely covered up. It just broke my heart.”

Hyde came to the cemetery Memorial Day morning to pay respect, not only to her father but to the other veterans buried there.  “I feel like that’s my obligation on Memorial Day,” she said, “to honor them by putting a flag out on their headstones.”

Respect is the last thing she feels like her parents and all the other men and women buried at Southland are receiving.  “This is not honor, this is awful,” she said, “I don’t even have a word to describe it, it’s awful.”

Arvivian Roberts searched the cemetery for an hour to find her father and sister’s headstones.  “It’s horrible. I think for the owners of this land to neglect it, it’s like neglect and abuse of our loved ones,” she said. “I’ve actually went and wiped off dead grass to read headstones, I should not have to do that to find my loved ones, it’s horrible.”

After several complaints, the owner of the cemetery sent crews out to mow the area, but some families say it shouldn’t take a complaint to get the care the dead deserve.

“If you look around you see trash, you see dead flowers, weeds,” she explained, “Today is Memorial Day. There should be a respect, a certain solitude about taking care of people’s loved ones.”

“They deserve better than this.” Hyde said. “Shame on us to allow this, and not to honor these men and women who gave their lives, and we can’t do any better?”

CBS 11 did try to contact the owner of the cemetery, Bill Strong. He did not return our calls.

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