Dishonoring Nashville's Dead: Vandalism at Mt. Olivet Cemetery

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I was out at Mt. Olivet Cemetery this weekend, looking for Ben and Sue Allen, and, in the process of finding Mr. Allen, I observed that there's a lot of vandalism at Mt. Olivet Cemetery — obelisks knocked down, chunks of monuments broken and laying in pieces on the ground. I didn't see any spray paint or extraneous carvings, though, so no one is bragging about this dick move.

But a dick move it is. As you recall, Mt. Olivet became the place to put your dead loved ones in the ground once the city cemetery fell out of fashion. Mt. Olivet is full of people whose names you know because you've driven down streets named after them or stood in buildings named after them — Harding, Ryman, Adelicia Acklen, the aforementioned Ben Allen, and so on.

That's Nashville's history in there, and it doesn't sit right with me that jerks are ruining it for everyone. I know the issues are a little different than with the city cemetery, since the city cemetery is a park and Mt. Olivet is privately owned. And, yes, there's still occasionally vandalism in the city cemetery. But having master gardeners and cemetery association people in and out matters, plus people using the cemetery as a park, and the growing investment of neighbors who watch what goes on there.

Now, Mt. Olivet isn't really in a neighborhood, but it seems like more Nashvillians could be around the cemetery, dissuading ne'er-do-wells. So I encourage you — go visit our dead neighbors. It'll be interesting for you and good for them.

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