Beechwood Cemetery welcomes everyone
Re: We need a refresher on cemetery etiquette, Jan. 11.
Beechwood Cemetery lies at the bottom of the street where I live and grew up. I also have two parents and two brothers buried there. When I was a kid, it was a morbid place where teenagers would go after hours and drink and even topple tomb stones.
This cemetery has finally joined the 21st century and realized that cemeteries are not simply for the dead, but for the living as well. Beechwood has truly opened up to joggers, walkers (also with a leashed dog if you have one), and is a burial place for all faiths, including those that show up at plots with food to celebrate their deceased loved ones. It is Canada’s National Military Cemetery (our Arlington). It’s an historical record of who built Ottawa. Wedding parties have their photos taken there amidst the incredibly maintained gardens.
The dead and those burying the dead should be respected, but cemeteries are also for the living. It’s only in visiting and spending time in cemeteries that you can appreciate life, even while contemplating death. Beechwood has everything from organized historical walking tours to lawn dinners in aid of the poor.
Cemeteries belong front and centre, not swept under an old, stuffy rug. People should not be discouraged from visiting, because the deadly truth is that they will eventually, and inevitably, live there beneath the earth for eternity. The world has changed, and so have cemeteries.
Douglas Cornish, Ottawa
(Taken from the Today's Letter Section of the Ottawa Citizen on January 16 2021, https://ottawacitizen.com/opinion/todays-letters-on-travelling-and-staying-home-during-covid-lockdown)