It wasn't a special occasion. Family of those interred in the small cemetery were checking to see whether their loved ones' final resting places were undisturbed.
They had heard news that the cemetery had been vandalized Tuesday night - the night before the Fourth of July - and had come to the cemetery to make sure that their family member's tombstone wasn't one of those toppled by the vandals.
Among them was Anna Mae Kenyon, a Lancaster County woman whose husband, Herbert J. Henry, is buried next to her 2-year-old daughter, Jacqueline. They both died in 1976.
"I wanted to make sure our stone was OK," she said.
"I guess we're fortunate," she said.
Others weren't so lucky. Some 36 stones were toppled during the vandalism spree, said Dick Weitzel, vice president of the nonprofit board that runs the cemetery. He supposed that the spree occurred sometime after 8 p.m. Tuesday. He lives adjacent to the cemetery and was outside at his home and a neighbor's until about that time.
Workers righted some of the stones on Thursday, but some of the older and larger stones required larger equipment than the cemetery had available at the time. Weitzel said the equipment and time could wind up costing the cemetery between $500 and $1,000. Technically, he said, the stones are the responsibility of the families, but, he added, "We'll just go ahead and do it. We want the cemetery to look nice."
He said vandalism wasn't unknown in the cemetery. "This is the third or fourth time in the last 10 years or so that we've had problems," he said.
In previous instances, he said, none of those believed to have committed the vandalism have been apprehended.
He said he has no idea why someone would push over tombstones.
"It's thoughtless," he said. "They don't have any idea what they mean to people. There's no rhyme of reason for it.
Jackie Kissinger agreed. The Columbia woman went to the cemetery Friday morning to check on the stones of her parents, her son and her great nephew. While she was there, she also checked on the stone of a cousin, Karl "Herc" Stroppel, who died in 1970 in a car accident shortly after coming home from a tour in Vietnam.
"Everything's OK," she said. "Thankfully."
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