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Thursday, January 26, 2012

January 26, 2012 Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery

So today Abby decided she wants to go to work with The Darrel.  She got a glimpse of all that grass when we drove through the national cemetery one day, and I know she wants to go tearing through it like she does at our home in Georgia.  However, national cemeteries do not smile upon little red dogs who want to run among the graves of noble war veterans who deserve the honor of respect.  Respect in no manner includes a dog.  I keep putting her in front of a mirror so she can see that she is a dog.
I don't think she's accepted that yet.

The Darrel's job at the cemetery is to make sure the sprinkler products the VA is paying for actually get put into the ground so the Rosecrans National Cemetery can stay green and beautiful.  This cemetery is over 250 years old and has veterans in it from the Spanish/American War which occurred after the Civil War and before WWI.  Over all those years, without the methods we have today to maintain such a facility, headstoneshave sunken and fallen over, been nicked and broken by heavy equipment used for subsequent burials and lawn maintenance.  Now the entire 70 acres is filled to capacity and is being closed down because there is no more space for veterans to be buried there.  All of the headstones are being repositioned (and many replaced) with concrete underneath them to avoid having future problems.  The sprinklers over 250 years have been jerry rigged and patched together until the maintenance men often used buckets of water to maintain certain areas the sprinklers didn't reach at all.  So this is the year the system gets replaced.

Unfortunately the Veteran's Administration functions in its own peculiar fashion, and overkill is alive and well.  There may be 700 different pieces of products, from pipe and glue to sophisticated computer driven valves and weather stations.  One of each and every little piece of product has to be brought to the inspector for his verification before the sections can be okayed for installation.  Along with the the individual pieces, a schematic for each  piece must accompany it.  So bit by bit, 700 pieces and drawings of how they function have to be eyeballed and equated to the master blueprint design.  Therefore, no shovel has yet dug up one bit of dirt after two years of planning.  Since the project was to have started last October, you can imagine the frustration of the 19 people involved in trying to actually begin work.

It's a job for a person who is not doing anything else at the time.  Unfortunately, most working people have other jobs they are trying to schedule in order to survive.  My retired husband who does occasional consulting work does not.  The frustration level of the landscaper, the irrigation installer, the maintenance people, the general contractor, the irrigation designer and the landscape designer, the VA project supervisors themselves, rises daily.  Whether the job has started or not, daily reports, weekly reports, bi-weekly reports and monthly reports must be filed by each of them.  It's an exercise in patience.

Fortunately the magnificence of the location is undeniable.  At once it feels spectacular in its beauty and majesty, in its solemnity, its sacredness.  In its sadness as well.  I have to hand it to the VA--through all my misgivings about how our country is run, the national cemeteries somehow rise above the rest of the government.  Our fighting men/women are definitely honored in death.  I guess if anything can make all the rest of it justified, this is perhaps the place.


  1. Doesn't bureaucracy always work this way? Does this man y'all will be out there longer than expected? Like about five years or so?

    1. No. I can't live very long without by babies. Not to mention how much I love the Georgia land. Not to mention all my people like you. Maybe I'll have to become bi-coastal? It only takes me about four weeks to acclimate to the time change and weather.