Visiting loved ones who served and passed is a Memorial Day tradition for many, but for some, that tradition has turned ugly.
Relatives of loved ones buried at a Saginaw cemetery said the grass is too high and the area is not maintained.
"My mom died in 1982. I made a promise I'd never forget her," said Sherry Weathers, a visitor at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Saginaw.
Weathers and her family visited her mother and her veteran father-in-law on Memorial Day. Every time she goes, she has to take one extra thing.
"A weedwacker, because over the years it's gotten to where they're not keeping up with it. And we just want it to look nice," Weathers said.
She is upset with the conditions of the cemetery on Washington Avenue. The weeds are overgrown, the water spigots are broken and the grass is so high it covers some of the tombstones.
"My sister came here for Mother's Day and she said to me, 'you won't believe the condition of the cemetery.' But I told her, for Memorial Day they'll have it spruced up. But it's not. Its very bad," said Connie Mazzola, a visitor at the cemetery.
Debbie Carter, also a visitor at the cemetery, said her relatives would turn over in their graves.
"It's just really heartbreaking, really," she said.
In some areas, the grass is up to people's knees. Some visitors said that's not the only concern they have with the cemetery. There are also animal holes hidden by the tall grass and trash piled up in the middle of the graves.
"They haven't picked up anything," Carter said.
Some sections of the cemetery have been cut, but most have not.
Many people were visiting their family on Memorial Day, some were remembering veterans, and they were left disappointed by the condition around their loved ones.
"It doesn't feel good, that's why we do it, it's just something we have to do," Weathers said.
The city of Saginaw maintains the cemetery.
Phil Karwat, the city's public service director, said a multitude of problems are causing the neglect, including a lack of manpower, run-down equipment, and minimal funding.
He said his staff is spread too thin with the number of parks and cemeteries they oversee, and many areas will not have the maintenance they need.
Copyright 2014 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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