Mankota Free Press

 http://www.mankatofreepress.com/features/local_story_231005232.html?keyword=topstory

By Pat Christman

Ceremony at St. Peter Regional Treatment Center honors those whose graves were marked by just numbers

(Mankato, Minnesota) Remembering With Dignity, together with the Americans with Disabilities Act Road to Freedom tour, held a ceremony Saturday to honor the placement of hundreds of new grave markers in the St. Peter Regional Treatment Center’s cemetery.

Cemeteries have historically been the places people go to remember family members and friends who have died. Remember who they were and what they did while they were alive. In some cemeteries, such as the one on the grounds of the St. Peter Regional Treatment Center, it can be a place to forget.

More than 12,500 graves in institution cemeteries in Minnesota are marked with only a number, if at all, according to Remembering With Dignity, a coalition of disability rights and advocacy organizations founded in 1994 to identify those people buried beneath a number and record their histories. Remembering With Dignity, together with the Americans with Disabilities Act Road to Freedom tour, held a ceremony Saturday to honor the placement of hundreds of new grave markers in the treatment center’s cemetery.

Songs were sung and a play performed by the United We Stand Players of New Ulm and the AKTION Club Theater of Mankato, acting groups for people with various types of disabilities, all with the theme of remembering. Remembering those who have been forgotten and not forgetting those that are here.


Heidi Myhre places flowers on the new headstone of Frank Chermak after an installation ceremony Saturday at the St. Peter Regional Treatment Center’s cemetery.
Pat Christman / The Free Press


Flowers rest on newly-placed headstones near their numbered markers Saturday at the St. Peter Regional Treatment Center’s cemetery.
Pat Christman / The Free Press


A flower sits on a grave marker bearing only a number Saturday at the St. Peter Regional Treatment Center’s cemetery.
Pat Christman / The Free Press


Members of United We Stand Players and the AKTION Club Theater Group, acting groups for people with various types of disabilities, hold masks in front of their faces during a play called “Calling Names on the Wind” during the ceremony Saturday.
Pat Christman / The Free Press


Hundreds of new headstones wait to be placed in the St. Peter Regional Treatment Center’s cemetery.
Pat Christman / The Free Press