Understand facts of military cemetery

 

I attended the South Barrington/VA cemetery briefing at the Hilton Inn on Nov. 8.

The room was packed. At least 150 people. The VA staff gave a slide presentation. Then, the Not In My Back Yard chorus started criticizing the plan. Comments such as; "dangerous for the children," "exposing them to gunfire," "my home will lose its value, "traffic jams will cause problems in the village," on and on and on.

I tried to explain that the honor guard used ceremonial rifles that used blanks and not real bullets and that the sound was much muted. But, it was obvious that the vast majority had never attended a military funeral, a dignified and quiet, reverent ceremony.

Since funerals would be between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., children would be in school and hear nothing and adults would be at work, far away.

Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., is surrounded by homes that do not lose value, as is Gettysburg and its cemeteries in Pennsylvania. Same for cemeteries in Chicago. Loss of value? Tell that to those that perished at Normandy (16,000), Okinawa (14,000), Luzon (10,600), Iwo Jima (6,800), Saipan (3,400), and the over 1,100 entombed in the USS Arizona at the bottom of Pearl Harbor.

They sacrificed their dream of a home, and a back yard with children so that you could have yours.

It is offensively presumptuous of Mr. Marsiglia, in a previous letter, to say that all of South Barrington agrees with him. I do not. As a former village trustee and a 37-year resident, this event will cast a shadow over our village.

Joseph Helsing

South Barrington

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