OPINION: Kinnard Cemetery Disrepair

Our Hero Veterans Deserve Better

Now, let me tell you this. Our veterans are phenomenally important. They’ve given everything to us, haven’t they? Everything. Do we really take care of them? I mean, for crying out loud, we can’t even maintain their cemetery. We’ve got to do better. We have to do better.”

West Virginia Governor James C. “Jim” Justice, II, in his State of the State speech, February, 8th 2017

“We do not need to tell you the cemetery is poorly cared for at Institute, we don’t need to remind you how veterans are NOT properly cared for in WV, we also don’t need to tell you that our politically appointed veterans council has not addressed anything of significance and fails to properly advise the state on issues concerning veterans.

“Instead, we will just quote our Governor and say we wholehearted agree with you Mr Governor 100%!

“You can Debate it, Lie about it and even Deny it but the lies shall not change the truth that we fall short when it comes to veterans I’m WV!

“If people get upset over this? Well too bad you can call the Governor, he made the comments, we just shared them with you.”

West Virginia Veterans Coalition

Justice and the Veterans Coalition are reacting to the awful condition of the West Virginia Veterans cemetery that is named after Hurricane’s hero, Veteran Donel Clfford Kinnard. The cemetery, at Institute, is coming under fire, for its sloppy and disrespectful conditions.

PutnamCountyNews.com paid our respects in a visit, Sunday, May 7th, 2017, where our camera captured images of mud and water-stained and crooked marble tombstones, a crooked vault marker, and mud surrounding tombstones, indicating shoddy upkeep that is disrespectful to West Virginia and American heroes.

“These fallen warriors cannot speak for themselves,” says one Veteran, whose name we are withholding to prevent retaliation from state officials. “There is no excuse for these conditions. None. This is awful. This is disrespectful. This is inexcusable.”

Water runoff from hillsides, nearby streams and groundwater is being blamed for damage to the otherwise beautiful cemetery on picturesque land formerly owned by Dow Chemical. Weather conditions were sunny and dry, on May 7th. However, PutnamCountyNews.com saw water running out of a concrete crack, onto a road, and heard water running underneath a drainage grate.

“There are plans to move about 100 graves,” explains the Veteran. “I am afraid that the caskets will be rusted and damaged by the water. The state has known about this for years, but has not done the right thing.”

Let’s make it clear: West Virginia’s heroes deserve to be laid to rest in a respectful, beautiful setting. Mud, crooked tombstones, water stains and other shoddy conditions are an insult to the men and women who served our country. They deserve better.

As West Virginia’s legislature is being called into a special budget session, Justice and the other politicians need to take a tour of the Kinnard Cemetery and set aside the money to fix the many problems. If it wasn’t for our Veterans, the same politicians wouldn’t have the freedom to debate policy under the golden dome. Find a million dollars out of the $4 billion budget and clean up the place.

PutnamCountyNews.com was somewhat skeptical when told about the problems at the cemetery. Our pictures, posted in this commentary, don’t show how bad things are. The conditions are disrespectful and deplorable.

Our Veterans are true heroes. Treat them with the proper amount of respect, as they lay in their final resting places!