It’s a common problem across the state with old cemeteries in rough shape.
It truly is a sad sight – headstones toppled over, some of them cracked, the names barely legible after being weathered for so long. The West Taghkanic Cemetery is the hands of a Vietnam veteran who says the money is running out.
Rows of knocked over headstones, an Old Church Cemetery fallen into devastating disrepair but Edward Waldron says it’s not for lack of trying.
“These people paid their dues and the least we can do is give them a decent burial place,” Waldron said.
He’s been running the cemetery for more than 20 years. For the first decade, doing all the maintenance at his own expense.
“I weeded, did the mowing, and used my equipment and my gas.”
Waldron has family buried here along with 64 fellow veterans.
“I got a father in law over there he’s a veteran. That’s one thing I make sure we have is veterans flags.”
There are no employees, just Waldron, and two trustees. The now-shuttered church has no involvement and the only funding comes from burials. There were just four burials last year.
“Half the people that were going into the ground aren’t anymore.”
Jim Benton with the Columbia County Historical Society says more Americans are opting for cremation, and the culture of visiting grave sites is changing.
“There’s just nobody left to do any kind of maintenance or take care of things.”
NEWS10 ABC was acting on a story tip, the sender saying “It INFURIATES me that people have such a lack of respect for our ancestors” and “Something needs to be done. It’s disrespectful and disturbing!”
Waldron says there’s simply not enough money to do repairs.
“You got to get a hold of a monument company and have them come in and fix it cuz we can’t fix it.”
Waldron has his plot picked out and hopes there’s someone to care for his final resting place when he’s gone.
He says he’s running out of options and hopes the town may be able to take on the cemetery.