Click HERE to read this sad news account about some of the burials at the Highland Park Cemetery in Highland Hills, Cuyahoga County, Ohio.
It is posted online today and written by Kristin Volk of TV Channel 5 - Newsnet5.com - in Cleveland, Ohio.
The story reveals almost inconceivable facts about 18,000 people who had died in or near Cleveland, Ohio. How no one came forward or could be found to step up and claim their bodies. Reading the details should stop us in our tracks and make us shake our heads; and hang our heads and cry with deep sorrow.
Watching the short yet profound video forces us to contemplate just how truly lost these souls became after their death -- prompting us to question how they could have met such a lonely forgotten end as they did.
In the video, we see names imprinted on some of the tiny white cardboard boxes that hold their cremated remains. Some of their names are even mentioned aloud as the reporter continues her account of what we are witnessing while some of the 24 boxes of cremated human remains scheduled for burial that day were being set down one-by-one, by the hands of a stranger who never knew them, into a single dug out plot of ground. We realize some are identified and are not among the unknowns -- we hope their names are at least in the cemetery's written records if nothing else.
We are told there will be no marker above ground for them.
The story is emphatic that the searches were exhaustive to locate living people who are relatives or others who would claim these bodies.
Yet, in my opinion, the story is sparse in specifics to explain how the exhaustive searches were conducted. What steps were taken? Were their names published in the newspaper before being buried? Were funeral homes contacted asking about them; and asking if any had pre-need funeral arrangements for themselves that no one knew about?
I personally feel there are a lot of details missing that need to be shared to help me understand how it happened that departed souls, that number in the thousands, were lost and relegated to an obscurity they most likely never considered would be their fate after they drew their final breath.
Surely, something can be done to ensure that no one has to meet an end of life situation where their remains are left to be forgotten and buried in a mass unmarked grave simply because there is no one to claim them or care they died.