Loose cows still a problem at veterans cemetery

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TWO weeks after the meeting between the Department of Public Lands and some grazing permitees to address the issue, loose cows are still a problem at the CNMI Veterans Cemetery in Marpi,  Calistro I. Reyes told Variety.

Reyes, a former CNMI Boy Scouts of America director, said he visited the grave of his son, PFC Abraham T. Reyes, at the veterans cemetery on Saturday and saw several cows there.

He said the cows have defecated on some of the graves and knocked down the U.S. and CNMI flags and candles that he and his wife had placed on their son’s grave.

Calistro I. Reyes

“I was so emotional and in tears,” he said. “The greatest challenge I had as a father was to give my blessings to my son before he joined the U.S. Army. He is supposed to be buried in a sacred place with other veterans.”

Calistro Reyes said an employee of the Saipan mayor’s office assigned to the Marpi area told him that the employee’s “time and efforts were useless because of the loose cows that have, among other things, uprooted the flowers he has planted there.”

The cows enter the cemetery almost every day, Calistro Reyes said, adding that he has asked DPL Secretary Marianne Teregeyo-Concepcion to address the problem.

“It disrespects the men and women who fought in our nation’s wars and lost their lives to preserve our freedom,” he added.

He said DPL personnel should remove the cows from the cemetery “and put them up for auction.”

He added, “Perhaps the money from the auction can cover the costs of installing a fence and the ongoing expansion at the cemetery.”

He said the ranchers who own the cows “have no respect and they don’t care if their cows are going in and out of the cemetery, damaging the graves of our beloved servicemen and women.”

In its recent meeting with grazing permitees, DPL said it had proposed amendments to the agricultural grazing rules to address the loose cattle issue.



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