This may seem a bit premature, but anyone who plans to decorate graves for Memorial Day at the Great Bend Cemetery needs to be aware of the rules.
Great Bend Community Coordinator Christina Hayes mentioned this Monday night and there is also a notice on the city’s website: Memorial Day flowers may be put on graves starting Saturday, May 18 and will need to be removed by Sunday, June 2. Cemetery staff will be removing any and all flowers that are left on the graves starting at 8 a.m. on Monday, June 3. People will not be able to get these items back.
The rules are also posted at the cemetery.
The reason this is important NOW is that anyone putting flowers and other items out early may be disappointed to see them removed and discarded early. Likewise, anyone hoping to retrieve their decorations on June 4 will be disappointed. This leads to a lot of stress each year as city employees receive calls from irate citizens who want to know what happened to their flowers.
Outside of Memorial Day, there should be no items on the concrete surrounding tombstones. The concrete is used by the mowers as a barrier between the mower and the stone, so figurines placed on the base will be removed so the mowers can do their job. Normally, the cemetery allows people to place two decorations per grave on the headstone — not on the cement or the ground.
It’s easy to see why this is done. The staff usually mows the cemetery once a week at this time of year. People who are unhappy to see their decorations removed before Memorial Day would also be unhappy to see the cemetery overgrown. Director of Public Lands Scott Keeler has previously noted that flowers on the ground are removed when it’s time to mow. The staff doesn’t disturb flowers in vases or attached containers on stones. People want the cemeteries to look nice for Memorial Day, which requires mowing. They also want to put out decorations.
“It’s kind of that double-edged sword,” he said in 2015. That year, the cemetery board changed its rules to create a two-week window for decorations. Prior to 2015, flowers were discarded after one week.
If you have questions or need assistance, call Michelle Davis at the cemetery, 793-4167, during business hours. Just remember to be polite.