A fitting way to atone

Published 7:42 am Thursday, July 26, 2018

Earlier this month, the historic Rome-Proctorville Cemetery was targeted by vandals, with about $25,00 in damage inflicted on the grounds and numerous headstones toppled over.

Shortly after, working with detectives and making use of video surveillance, the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office said they had found the culprits – two 15-year-olds who were arrested and taken to the county’s juvenile detention center.

In the aftermath, volunteers at the cemetery have been working to repair the extensive damage to the cemetery, which dates back to 1916.

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Cemetery officials say they are willing to pursue a civil case to get the damage paid for.

But the two who allegedly caused the damage should have to account for their actions.

One possibility is that they may have to put in 200 hours of community service.

And many have suggested this should take place at the cemetery, where officials have assured us that they have plenty of work that could be done, from polishing headstones to painting fencing, there is more than enough to fill 200 hours.

What this pair did was more than just damaging monuments.

Cemeteries are a repository of local history and, more importantly, offer a place of solace for those who are grieving, a connection to the past for many to remember those they knew in their youth.

This crime was not just an insult to those who are buried there, but also a blow against their still-grieving families.

We can think of no more fitting punishment than for the two youth who are charged with causing the damage to put in time taking care of the cemetery.

Perhaps if they spend more time there, they will learn to respect what the grounds contain and learn something important in the process.