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Grave Etiquette 3

Know the Law

Know your state Laws and statutes pertaining to cemeteries. In almost every state, it’s  a 3rd Degree Felony to posses any artifact from a cemetery.

This pertains to statuary, iron fences, gravestones, marble coping (boarders), coffins, even plants, flowers and trees. Body parts and bodies are under a different chapter and laws are slightly stiffer.

In the past, many Antique shops have had the iron Southern Cross of Honor for sale.  It’s a no-brainer, the only place these are found is in a cemetery. They are starting to wise up because of public interest and you are the public. Politely call the Police and have them explain how they obtained it. This also pertains to the UCV flag stands. As for the SCV grave marker, they are copy-written and can only be obtained by members and for cemeteries. Now you are getting into trademark laws.

VA gravestones are Federal property and the laws are even stiffer for possession of stolen Federal property.

This is a double edged sward. If you are transporting a VA gravestone, have your request to the VA for the stone, military records and the shipping slip with you. If you have an SCV grave marker or a Southern Cross of Honor, also make sure 
you have a receipt for these.

Disposition of “Old” stones

Leave them where they are, even if they are completely illegible. A new companion stone with a complete or a more detailed transcription can be placed in front of this old stone. The history is still preserved.

If the stone is badly broken, and if an indiscretion must be committed by discarded the stone, please bury it at least one or two feet deep, just in front of the replacement stone. Please mark the burial card with this information on the back to 
let cemetery personnel know it’s there in case of a new burial or to notify a conservator where to find it if it is to some day be restored.

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