Local News

Flowers only: Enforcement of new cemetery policy stirs up emotion in Spring Lake

Posted December 5, 2016

— The recent enforcement of a long-time policy at the Sandhills State Veterans Cemetery is stirring up emotion among those who have loved ones buried at the cemetery in Spring Lake.

The floral policy only allows for one item to be placed near a grave site, but many tombstones have personalized decorations. The strict enforcement is new, but the policy has been in place since the cemetery opened nearly 20 years ago.

Tabitha Wise buried her mother at the cemetery about two years ago. Her mother's grave has lights, which now have to go.

"The lights come on at night. It's beautiful out here at night," Wise said. "All the lights start coming on, but now the lights have to go."

James Woodard, the facility manager said lights, along with PVC pipe and other decorations, must go.

"With the flowers that they had been putting...it would take a day or a day-and-a-half to just clear it for cutting," Woodard said. "Then you try to have to put those back. It's just humanly impossible."

Signs have been posted to alert patrons that beginning Dec. 6, only one item can be placed at the grave site in a green floral holder, which the cemetery will provide.

"We have an angel that is green for my mother's month she was born and we have flowers and we have a cross that lights up at night, and these lights come on and shine her name," Tabitha Wise said.

Christmas decorations will be allowed until Jan. 5, and fresh flowers are permitted between Oct. 15 and April 15. There are special provisions made during other holidays and birthdays.

The items the cemetery collects Tuesday will be stored for 30 days before being discarded.

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