Family Upset Over Cemetery in Disarray

By Jamie Ratliff
|  Saturday, Feb 1, 2014  |  Updated 12:02 AM EDT
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Families with loved ones buried at the cemetery in Hartford are upset over its current condition.

Families with loved ones buried at the cemetery in Hartford are upset over its current condition.

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Inside the gates of Hartford Soldiers Field rests nearly 5,000 American heroes from as far back as the 19th century. It's a place family members proudly buried their loved ones. Marlene Parker's dad, Adam Karatkiewicz, has been there for more than 40 years.

  "He was a WWII vet who was injured during his time in service. He died of service-connected disability," said Parker. "He loved Soldiers Field, and when he was buried everything was pristine there."
 
Today that cemetery is in disarray. Headstones are cracked and haphazardly leaning. Some have toppled over while others are propped up with pieces of wood. You can see grass destroyed by tire tracks right in front of the names of war veterans from long ago.
 
"We were all horrified when we pulled in the cemetery to see the deplorable conditions," said Parker.
 
It's what greeted her when she came to bury her mom, Isabella, next to her dad earlier this month. She also discovered pieces missing from her own father's headstone.
 
"I know my father would never have wanted to be buried there with the conditions that they are today," said Parker.
 
Hartford's Department of Public Works is responsible for maintaining the cemetery and the director told NBC Connecticut when he last visited Soldiers Field back in November it was in excellent condition and there have been no reports of vandalism.
He says he'll head out to the cemetery himself and figure out just what needs to be done to fix the problem.
 
Still the current condition has Marlene Parker considering drastic measures.
 
"I did say something to a relative, I wonder if we could have both our parents moved," said Parker.
 

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