Remembering the Unknown
"There are many names today that we can't say out loud, some names we don't even know behind us. But, we need to remember that we can say those names inside our heart," said Chief Operating Officer Marty Martin. "We can remember them inside our heart."
In his heart is where 90-year-old Sidney Wood has always remembered his father. Now, he traveled from Washington state to remember him where he's buried.
"It built up a desire to mark the spot," explained Wood, "so that any person that comes here and lives on this earth for four score, or I don't know how many years shouldn't pass on their existence without leaving a trace."
Unfortunately, many Fulton State Hospital patients left without a trace. Their graves are not only unmarked, the occupants are also unknown because of a 1956 fire in the Administration Building.
"Unfortunately, the records were kept of each individual and where they were buried," said Martin, "so the names of the individuals and where they were buried was lost to us. We've never been able to recover that information."
But, they're not forgotten. For the past six years, the hospital staff has held memorial services to remember their patients and to honor veterans.
Wood doesn't know exactly where his dad is buried. But for him and his family, this marker is close enough.
"I mean, even if it's 100 yards away, just knowing that he's here is pretty cool," said Wood's granddaughter, Jessica Dixon.
"By remembering, we do honor to their memory even though we don't know who they are," added Martin.
The cemetery opened behind Fulton State Hospital in 1852, a year after the hospital opened.