Cemetery Basics

How many times have you driven past the cemetery in your community?  Do you ever just drive in, park your car and walk around reading the names and dates on the gravestones and markers?  Near the entrance to some cemeteries and memorial parks you may find a verse that reads:

Show me the manner in which a nation or community cares for its dead, and I will measure with mathematical exactness the ternder mercies of its people, their respect for the laws of the land, and their loyalty to ideals.

That is a very powerful sentiment.  Other than a library or a historical society, where else can you learn about the people who helped to shape your community’s past and future?  

In the year 44 B.C., Cicero wrote, “The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.”  This Roman philosopher also observed that, “Memory is the treasury of all things and their guardian.”  A cemetery is the place to foster tributes and preserve memories.

The next time that the sun is shining and you have some time to spare, visit the small church cemetery in your town or the picturesque memorial park in your community.  There, you will find solitude and knowledge about the area where you live.

Fact Sheet

Did you know:

Most people purchase a permanent gravestone, monument or marker between a week and a month after the funeral.

According to a study conducted for the Funeral and Memorial Information Council, the reasons people cited for purchasing a cemetery monument or gravestone include:

  • Marking the location of the grave
  • Preserving the memory of the person’s life
  • Honoring or paying tribute to the deceased

The key reasons that people purchase a cemetery lot or mausoleum crypt before the time of need include:

  • They want to spare their loved ones from making the decisions at the time of need
  • To assure a specific location
  • They know that they will need to purchase it eventually
  • They are following a family tradition
  • Price

According to a survey conducted for the Funeral and Memorialization Information Council, of the people who prefer cremation:

  • 57% would have a permanent memorial to remember them in some way
  • 38% would like a living tribute such as a tree or shrub in their memory in a cemetery or memorial park
  • 31% prefer a cemetery monument
  • 22% prefer a columbarium marker
  • 13% would choose to be listed in a book of remembrance