Why is Aunt Ruth all of a sudden fascinated by cemeteries.
Cemeteries are wonderful for validating and verifying data. Imagine the thrill when you research records, gather vital data, shift through documents and then to be able to actually go to a place that validates all you have researched. An example of this would be, identifying Joe Dow as born this date, died this date and married to Sue Sue. Then to be able to visit a grave site and lo and behold there is a marker with Joe Dow's birth and death date buried right before you next to his wife Sue Sue. No matter how many times you researched the data, to see it right before you, just gives you a sense of closure and satisfaction that you have indeed closed any doubts of your research.
Cemetery visiting is not as common today as it was in the past. Just as we learn how to eat with manners, the visiting of a cemetery have some formalities.
A cemetery is an off shoot of the church. When visiting the Arizona on Oahu they reminded us that this was in fact a cemetery and we should act accordingly.
If you are not visiting a cemetery to attend a funeral, it is best to pick a time when there is no funeral being conducted. This is in respect for the family. But if this is just not possible, do not interrupt, join in or disturb in anyway the funeral taking place and don't get in the way of funeral processions.
First thing to do when visiting a cemetery is to go to the cemetery office if open. It is proper to introduce yourself and state the purpose of your visit. Many times you can save yourself a lot of time and bother. Many caretakers are pleased to help you find your location or information. The most important reason to go to the office is to find out the rules of the cemetery site. The rules should be placed in plain view and easy to read. If there is something you do not understand ---- ask. Never interrupt an employee on the phone or speaking to another person. Just wait. Then without exception: Follow the cemetery rules. Most have a sign near the entrance stating hours, rules about decorations, etc. Obey these rules. Rules about decorations must be followed. Most cemeteries are open from dawn until dusk. Try not to remain in the cemetery after dark. If the cemetery says, "Closed dusk to dawn," get permission to visit it after hours. If you inadvertently stay past dusk, remember that you are breaking the law; leave cheerfully and quickly when you realize your mistake. Likewise, if the gate is locked, it just might be a hint that you're not allowed into a private cemetery. Stay out!
Don't litter. Do not leave any trace of you being there. Do not sharpen a pencil and leave the sawdust. Do not leave a Kleenex, a gum wrapper or worse the gum any where on the grounds. Carry it out with you.
Don't bring pets to a cemetery, or if it's necessary to bring them, make sure to keep them on a leash, make the animals stay on the paths and come prepared to clean up after them.
Follow the roadways and don't drive or walk on the grass. Drive slowly and obey any speed or parking signs posted in the cemetery. You do not have the right of away.
Keep children nearby and don't let them run across the grass, play on any of the monuments, or take the flowers or articles off the grave sites. It is correct they are children and do not know better but you need to be in control of the children. While it is good to get children used to paying respects at a cemetery, they often don't fully understand the meaning of everything in the cemetery.
Keep voices down and respectful. Don't use bad language. Respect this tranquil place in which to mourn. Don't be overly friendly and talk to strangers because they may want to be alone in peace. It's best to speak in subdued tones, and not approach strangers unless they initiate conversation.
Don't touch any monuments or gravestones. These belong to the families who placed them there. Some older memorials might be in disrepair and might fall apart under the slightest touch. Protect what's in the cemetery. Do not lean on fragile headstones, much less sit on them. Don't use shaving cream to reveal inscriptions; many of them contain perfumes or other ingredients which contribute to decay. Acid rain has already done enough damage! A halogen flashlight at a sharp angle will reveal nearly as much--and sometimes more--than shaving cream would. Step carefully on graves. Leave plants, markers, badges, ribbons, and so on, exactly where you found them. Do not pick anything, even autumn leaves from the trees. However, if you find empty soda cans or fast-food wrappers, you can help the cemetery caretaker by putting them in the trash.
Don't take photos of other people or other funerals. Turn your cell phone off. Cemeteries are wide open spaces and voices tend to carry.
Cemeteries are solemn places with clear rules of etiquette.
Ask before you do any gravestone rubbings due to decaying stones.
Dead jokes are inappropriate. If someone starts joking, stop them immediately or leave the cemetery. We've seen jokers suddenly twist an ankle, or encounter other odd problems. Hmmmm, Obey the laws.
Do not eat, drink, or smoke in the cemetery. Step outside the cemetery if any of these pastimes are necessary.