Dozens of gravestones at Calvary Cemetery in Fort Smith were discovered to have been knocked over or broken Sunday (July 28).
Kim DeBar visited the cemetery with her family, as she said they do nearly every Sunday, to remember and pray for her relatives buried there. She said she was “disturbed” when they found the damaged headstones.
“The first reaction was to go and try to put the headstones back in place and to make it right, but there were just so many that were damaged or broken and too heavy to pick up that it was just hard,” said DeBar.
Charles Goebel said he wondered about the older tombstones and if the people buried there would still have family in the area to care for the damage.
“Some of them have been here 110 to 130 years,” said Goebel. “To replace them or to repair them, there’s no telling what it’ll take.”
DeBar and Goebel’s family graves were not damaged but many surrounding them were. They said they hope the headstones will be fixed soon.
The Calvary Cemetery is managed by Immaculate Conception parish. A spokesperson said they are aware of the damage, but they have not yet announced their plans to clean up the cemetery.
The Fort Smith Police Department said crimes involving a large amount of vandalism are handled by the criminal investigation division.