In the 1960s, the city of Ventura, California converted a cemetery containing the graves of more than 3,000 local pioneers, Chumash Indians, and veterans, into a park. Gravestones were dumped in a canyon and along a river, and the few family members who knew of the move were able to re-inter their loved ones to a nearby cemetery.
Graves desecrated included those of several Civil War veterans, including Private James Sumner, who, in 1870, was awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest award given to members of the military by the U.S. Government "for conspicuous gallantry." Today the remains of 3,000 local citizens are below the grass of the "Cemetery Memorial Park."
Although not designated as a dog park, Cemetery Memorial Park is utilized by local residents as a place where dogs run freely, as well as a park. A link to an article about the history of the park can be found at http://venturacounty.tribe.net/thread/026eebe5-29ca-4a11-a665-2964e61d8272
Today, retired Marine Sgt. Craig "Gunny" Donor has made it his mission to try to move the remains of Private Sumner to a national cemetery, more appropriate for the resting place of one who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his military service to the country. On October 18, the City Council of Ventura refused to allow Sgt. Donor to disinter Private Sumner's remains and arrange a proper burial. Details may be found at http://www.vcstar.com/news/2010/oct/18/soldiers-remains-will-stay-at-venturas-cemetery/
One of the reasons stated for the denial is that Sgt. Donor is not a descendant of Private Sumner, and therefore ineligible to seek the removal of Private Sumner's remains. Private Sumner was born in England and apparently left no descendants. No one has attempted to locate the soldier's family from England.
Remains of other holders of the Medal of Honor are buried in Arlington National Cemetery and in other cemeteries around the country where they are treated with honor and respect. Not so in Ventura where a Medal of Honor soldier lies in an unmarked grave.
My thanks to Pat Thomas for telling me about this sad story.