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Letters to the Editor

May 7, 2007

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: May is Cemetery Appreciation Month

Letter to the editor:

Although it may seem like a strange “appreciation” request, it is fitting for Mahaska County residents to remember those who care for the graves of their ancestors and loved ones. In fact, May was named as “Cemetery Appreciation Month” by Governor Chet Culver. The proclamation reads as follows:

“WHEREAS, Iowans are aware of the need to preserve the rich heritage contained in Iowa’s pioneer historical cemeteries; and

WHEREAS, this appreciation of their ancestor’s resting places, develops a sense of pride in their ancestors’ accomplishments and in their communities; and

WHEREAS, pride and respect for our pioneers leads to an interest in and concern for the future. It is with this thought in mind we dedicate this month to the care of our pioneer cemeteries.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Chester J. Culver, Governor of the State of Iowa, do hereby proclaim the month of May, 2007, as CEMETERY APPRECIATION MONTH.

Mahaska County has within its boundaries more than 80 cemeteries, and approximately 44 of these burial sites have been designated as “pioneer cemeteries.” These are defined as having six or fewer burials within the past fifty years. They are unique vestiges of Iowa’s cultural heritage and have been referred to as “outdoor museums.” If you would like to know more about the preservation of historic burial sites in Mahaska County, contact Jo Vernooy at 1240-235th Street, Leighton, IA 50143-8023, phone 641-673-8122 or email: mahcem@kdsi.net.

The Mahaska County Pioneer Cemetery Commission is so grateful to all of the volunteers who help with our Pioneer Cemeteries in Mahaska County. We are also appreciative of the support of our County Supervisors who have the vision and the foresight to recognize the importance of these burial places.

Jo A. Vernooy

Chairman

The Mahaska County Pioneer Cemetery Association

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