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Moser: Graves Exhumation at High School Site Leaves Trust Issues


My Grandpa said, “Trust has to be earned.” I believed him because I believed everything he told me. Today, though, I’m not sure that was accurate. I think we all start life trusting. Just picture the joy when you toss your toddler in the air! That child trusts you to catch him/her. If you missed, that child may develop mistrust, but it is not an inherent, natural part of childhood.

TRUST: noun: trust
1. firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.
“relations have to be built on trust”

What happens to change that trust? Does trust begin to erode when children discover there is no Santa, no Easter Bunny, or no Tooth Fairy? Do we stop trusting when Dad says he’s taking your dog to “The Farm”, when what he really meant was he was having your elderly friend euthanized?

Is trust something you lose all at once or is it bitten off a piece at a time when you look at the photo of the food you ordered and are faced with the sad imitation when it arrives on your tray? Does your trust diminish when you open a package that you think should be full and it looks half empty? There’s a caveat on the box that reads, “Contents may settle due to shipping.” Are you satisfied with that explanation?

So, perhaps it becomes our nature to be skeptical about people we should trust or used to trust. Certainly, when we read, “Canada says 386 Kids Rescued in porn bust” and discover among those arrested are teachers and doctors, our trust is tarnished. When we read about pedophiles in the Catholic Church or trusted child care providers abusing children in their care, it is no small wonder we have become jaded.

Add to the mix CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) Photoshop, magicians, and optical illusions.
Is it any wonder when we hear some declaration like President Obama vowing to eliminate homelessness for the current 62,000 veterans sleeping in the streets by 2015, we doubt? (It seems especially doubtful after the debacle.)

So, when Prince William County Schools contract to exhume 13 graves, without investigation by our top notch experts on the Cemetery Committee of the Prince William Historical Commission, and after posting the most minimal of notice in the Washington Post Classifieds, is it any wonder we feel mistrust?

What could possibly be the big rush to move these remains? Why couldn’t this be delayed until adequate public notice was given? I have been told the state only received two objections to the exhumation. I don’t think that is surprising, since practically no one knew about this in time to take any action to delay the proceedings. Why is there no attempt to alter the plans, fence the cemetery and show respect to the dead as we have done in so many other locations in Prince William County?

There are quite a few of us asking questions now. We’re asking the School Administration, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, our School Board Representatives and we’re asking our elected officials. To date, I have received a response from Prince William County Executive Melissa Peacor stating the county’s School Board is ultimately responsible for school projects.

Peacor’s response was polite, but not satisfying.

School Board members have asked that we just be patient until Prince William schools officials respond and another told me she shares our concerns and will be seeking more information.

Unfortunately, since exhumation began on Veteran’s Day, we may all be too late. 

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