Cemeteries are changing

My parents are buried in the columbarium at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Huntsville, Alabama. As long as the church is standing, their descendants can visit them in the north transept, on the west wall. It’s not a traditional cemetery, like the ones we’d visit with Mark’s grandmothers on Memorial Day to lay flowers. But it’s closer to traditional than some choices today.Besides burial in space, the bereaved can also choose burial under the sea. Not at. Under.

Information from the Neptune Memorial Reef site:

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The Neptune Memorial Reef project is the largest man made reef ever. It is a “living resting place” for the departed, an environmental and ecological construction, a laboratory for marine biologists, students, researchers and ecologists, and a unique destination for visitors from all walks of life.

The artificial reef design is in 50-feet of water, 3.25 miles east of Key Biscayne, Miami. The Neptune Memorial Reef is attracting recreational scuba divers, as well as homeless fish while enhancing the coastal environment and reducing demand on other fragile natural reefs.
The Neptune Society, the largest cremation-only services company in theU.S., announced the new final resting place – The Neptune Memorial Reef –last November. Located in 45 feet of crystal clear water, the Neptune Memorial Reef is a design and engineering featthat will attract divers, ecologists, tourists…and those looking for a finalresting place of unmatched beauty.
The Neptune Memorial Reef is a re-creation of the legendary
Lost City of Atlantis, and will be the largest man-made reef of its type in the world. Covering over 16 acres of ocean floor, the Neptune Memorial Reef offers room for more than 125,000 remains, and is a “living city” that will act as a catalyst for marine life to converge and thrive. It was created by visionary Gary Levine and famed designer/sculptor Kim Brandell.

Jerry Norman, President and CEO of the Neptune Society, said, “The Neptune MemorialReef is a first for the industry and a major step toward creating a new way for people to honor and remember their loved ones in a beautiful setting that reaffirms life and promotes marine habitat, coral growth and supports tourism. With the help of time and nature, this underwater memorial city will become a living reef of colorful marine life and coral growth that holds secure the remembrances of the dearly departed for all time.”

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While I can certainly understand the appeal — I love the water, that’s why I live in Navarre – I wonder how hard it will be 100 years from now to search out an ancestor’s tombstone…especially if the ancestor is 45, not 6, feet under.

About Libbi

Writer for 30 years. Genealogy a hobby for about 40 years. Yes, I'm in my 50's, I learned about genealogy at my mother's knee!
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