Tuesday, October 18, 2011 | Categories: Documentaries |
Mountain View Cemetery sits in the center of Vancouver. It stretches from 31st Avenue to 43rd. 106 acres.
It is the largest World War II Commonwealth gravesite in North America; there are rows of graves from the influenza pandemic in 1917; sections for the Chinese, the Masons, the Oddfellows - a section for orthodox Jews.Then there are the 11,000 unmarked mass graves.
Unmarked until 5 years ago.
These are the graves of babies. Some died at birth some lived a few hours, a few days. But from 1907 until 1972 they were all put in mass graves with little ceremony and no markers. Only the keepers of the cemetery knew where they were. The thinking was that these babies were best forgotten. The kindest thing for the parents - particularly for the mother, would be to pretend those babies had never been born.It can't be done. A few years ago the caretakers of Mountainview cemetery posted the registry of those 11,000 babies online and they created an infant garden, a memorial to babies who died decades ago. Every baby would be marked with their own smooth round stone.
As word got out, the mothers and the fathers - gray haired men and women leaning on canes, started to come to the cemetery to find their babies. They came by themselves, with their families, in the sunshine or in the pouring rain.Here is Pamela Post's documentary Buried So Deep.