Siouxland respects the dead, Sioux City

6 May

Recently this spring I took a walk one morning in the oldest cemetery in Sioux City, Iowa, the Floyd Cemetery. It began its service in the late 1800’s and has grave markers there dating to that time, some of whom buried there even served their country in the Civil War. The cemetery is cared for by the city. I found out a local publication did an article in the fall of 2013 about problems the cemetery is having, basically erosion. A local historian quoted in the piece said this problem has been ongoing since the cemetery’s inception.

Floyd Cemetery sits on a bluff, part of the Loess Hills, and over time, part of the hillside has fallen away, taken head stones and graves with the loss of soil. In the article a city employee said that a little work is done at a time and it is the intent of the city to eventually fill in a gully where rain water runoff heads down the hillside taking topsoil with it. On my walk one could see where some work has been done. One could also see where parts of head stones have fallen into the gully and other head stones may soon be following. It is still early in the season, but this had to be something ongoing as according to the historian, so why is the city slow in rectifying the situation. The people buried there probably have no living relatives or anyone to advocate for them. There doesn’t seem to be any preventive measures in place like erosion barriers that one sometimes see after recent road construction and rolled grass is places to stop water runoff creating this very problem.

The people buried in the Floyd Cemetery picked that place as their final resting place, overlooking the city they spent part of their life involved with, expecting that city to return the respect to them they may have given to the city, or at least to respect the dead. It’s possible as this problem continues, Floyd Cemetery may not be the “final” resting place these individuals and their families thought it would be as the soil gives way exposing grave sites and possibly some more falling into the nearby gully. These individuals have already disappeared from society and the life they knew, it’s sad that their time in death may also disappear.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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