Cemeteries aren't for the dead. They're dead. Cemeteries are for the living, for us to go visit our past.
The Greenwood Cemetery Association cleans the grounds and cleans grave markers and pays for professional cleaning on huge markers
Not only do they do it for free, but oftentimes pay for what they do out of their own pockets
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -
One group of volunteers is helping keep Jackson's historic Greenwood Cemetery alive.
It's cleaning day and Edmond Richardson is getting over a hundred years of collected dirt and lichen pressure-washed off of his imposing monument in the old burial ground on North West Street in Jackson, just north of downtown. He was a powerful cotton broker.
"We've done some repairs on it recently," said Greenwood Cemetery Association Executive Director Cecile Wardlaw. "We got his angels back up on the sides and just are thrilled to get him cleaned up and get a big branch out of the way so we can see his face now."
The cleaning of Mr. Richardson isn't for his sake, of course. It's for ours. Cemeteries aren't for the dead. They're dead. Cemeteries are for the living, for us to go visit our past. And folks who don't have a past can't expect to have too much of a future.
That's why the Greenwood Cemetery Association, an all unpaid volunteer group, has adopted this cemetery and has kept it clean and trim and fought back against the vandals, so we can keep up with who we are here in Mississippi.
"This is the original burying ground for the city of Jackson, established in 1823 with the original city, said Wardlaw. "It's the most historic place in the city. We have seven governors and a lot of confederate generals and soldiers and the people who literally came and cleared the ground to build Jackson are buried here. We don't know who a lot of them are. There are over 300 people in unmarked graves. But if you ride through you see the names of schools and churches and subdivisions and streets and all those people that were here first and something got named for them and they're buried here at Greenwood Cemetery."
The Greenwood Cemetery Association cleans the grounds and cleans grave markers and pays for professional cleaning on huge markers like this one, for the rest of us to take advantage of. And not only do they do it for free, but oftentimes pay for what they do out of their own pockets; all of this so we can have a clean, safe place to see our predecessors and the city's namesakes and take inspiration from them and pay them back for their paying ahead for creating a city and a state that has made a difference for all of us.
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