I stumbled upon a small graveyard today in Oxfordshire. It was squeezed between some houses and seemed somewhat out of place.
A pair of wooden gates were invitingly ajar, snug beneath a small lychgate.
Wandering in, I discovered it was a war cemetery, with headstones for fallen RAF crew from the Second World War. Many were 18,19,20 when they lost their barely begun lives.
Under the lychgate was a laminated notice detailing the ‘rules’ of the cemetery. It spanned three portrait A4 pages.
Gazing upon it, some of these rules intrigued me…
“Toys may only be left at the graveside for a period of 12 months after burial.”
“Silk flowers, appropriate to the season, may be used, but must be removed when they become faded or bedraggled.”
“Nicknames or pet names may be used in addition to baptismal name, but only if placed in inverted commas.”
We like rules.
Our lives, our society, our organisations are riddled with them.
It seems even in death, when you have given up so much, rules are to be obeyed.
Ironic since these brave young men lost their lives in the name of freedom.