A crying shame

Your letters: West county

A crying shame

In 1964, the city of San Buenaventura was busy desecrating more than 3,000 graves. I listened Oct. 20 in shock and horror at the city Park and Recreation meeting to many local descendants of historical families, such as former Congressman Bob Lagomarsino, who described his extended family still buried at Memorial Park in Ventura.

We saw pictures and heard stories of so many family members with no visible indication today that they remain buried there. Their headstones have been dragged off and dumped in Hall Canyon, out on the levee, and as jokes in local back yards! All because the cemetery fell into disrepair and this was the way those in charge wanted to clean it up. Now that we newer locals know, too, we know we must do what is right: Put them back! The city already has dedicated $123,000 that could be used toward this purpose. At the moment, city planners have further desecration in mind.

We were all awed by the history and pictures of the founding families of Ventura. The true spirit and hard-working traditions of America were shown that night and how these families gave so much back to their community. At the time, they paid the price that was asked for a plot of ground and a proper marker.

At Ivy Lawn Memorial Park on this coming Veterans Day, a Ventura County soldier just back from Iraq and the daughter of a Vietnam-era Agent Orange victim will sing from the heart original songs about their true love for America and all they deeply believe our country stands for.

Later, at noon on Main Street in Ventura, a funeral march will slowly make its way to Memorial Park, re-enacting the death of a Medal of Honor recipient who is buried there. Private Summers is just one of the American soldiers interred who fought for entrusted and sacred American ideals. Therein that re-enactment procession, our American torch of remembrance may only be a slight flicker in the grand historical record, but those of us participating will never forget a crying shame on Ventura in 1964.

-- Chuck Bennett, Ojai

(A combat veteran of Vietnam, Chuck Bennett will be master of ceremonies for the Veterans Day event at Ivy Lawn Memorial Park, Nov. 11 at 10:30 a.m. in Ventura. -- Editor)


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