Personal: Ross family cemetery vandalized in Tennessee

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By Bobby Ross Jr.

In 2011, I wrote a Christian Chronicle column (also published by The Commercial Appeal newspaper in Memphis) on the Tennessee cemetery where my Papa and Grandma Ross are buried:

CEDAR GROVE, Tenn.“Danial Ross. Born: 1791. Died: 1842.”

The name and the dates on the tombstone jump out at me immediately. My grandfather, father, brother and I have driven out to this middle-of-nowhere cemetery in rural West Tennessee on a lazy Saturday afternoon.

Leaves crumble under my sneakers, and the sun bears down on my balding head, as I explore this piece of my family’s past.

At first glance, I tell myself this could be any old country cemetery. The ugliness of faded plastic flower arrangements and skinny, branch-exposed trees strikes me. I smell dust and see weeds and wonder how often anyone ventures out to this seemingly forgotten patch of God’s green earth.

Yet, I sense that I am experiencing something significant, that somehow this is sacred ground for me.

This week, I was surprised to read on my cousin Joe Lindsey’s Facebook page that the cemetery has fallen victim to vandals.

WBBJ-TV reports:

CARROLL COUNTY, Tenn. –  Carroll County deputies are investigating after one West Tennessee church and cemetery were the target of vicious vandals.

Cedar Grove residents said told WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News that the Old Palestine Church, a Christian place of worship has recently become a playground for vandals.

Deputies said there is rumor that the church and cemetery are haunted, making it a target for trespassers who are drawn into investigate possible paranormal activity.

According to Joe, Papa and Grandma’s headstone and memorial plaque were not damaged. However, my uncle Chuck Ross says that the headstone of Danial Ross (or Daniel, as some say it should be spelled) was among the targets.

Says my uncle:

I will force myself not to use the kind of language I would like to use to describe those who did this damage!

Amen.