Everyone’s history is worth preserving

Published 8:09 pm Friday, May 24, 2019


The Advocate-Messenger

The history we know about often focuses on those of us skilled enough to accomplish great things or lucky enough to wind up with lots of money. The people who live ordinary lives and work hard for their families and communities but never gain notoriety or extreme wealth are all too easily lost in the past.

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We think that’s unfair — everyone wants to be remembered after we’re gone; everyone wants to have made a difference that doesn’t wind up forgotten. And in fact, most of us do wind up leaving positive impacts. But whether your impacts are still known a generation after you’re gone too often depends on your financial net worth.

That’s one reason we love publishing a community newspaper, which works hard to tell the stories of local, ordinary heroes. It’s also why we love the effort made by workers in Danville to add grave markers for 18 previously unmarked graves in Bellevue and Hilldale cemeteries.

The 18 graves are the final resting places for ordinary people. They lived important lives, but their families didn’t have enough money when they died to mark their graves.

The grave markers were purchased at a special price from Boyle Monument Company for a total of $720. The money came from the Danville Cemetery Fund, which is funded by the City of Danville.

Cemetery workers placed the markers Thursday, helping tie a small piece of history — the name and in most cases the date of death — to the locations where these 18 people were buried.

It was a small amount of work that has a much larger symbolic importance. It shows that our community values all of its members. We understand it takes all of us to be successful, and those of us alive today are standing where we are thanks to those who have moved on.

More markers are expected to be placed on additional pauper graves as records can be found to identify them and as funding allows.

One way more funding could be made available is through donations to the Friends of the Cemetery Fund. The fund is separate from the city budget and used for beautification and betterment of the local cemeteries. The Friends Fund is limited right now and could definitely use stronger support.

One of Boyle County’s greatest assets is its history. There are many Boyle County residents who are history buffs and many more who are passionate about preservation. If you are one of them, consider making a donation to the Friends Fund — it’s a great way to help preserve everyone’s local history, not just the history of the famous and deep-pocketed.