Arizona Republic -- Saturday, September 1, 2001
West Valley Opinions, Sun Cities/Surprise Section, Page 2
EDITORIAL: OUR VIEW
MOLOKAN CEMETERY SEARCH
Some mysteries stay that way
University of Arizona graduate student Kathy Powell uses [moves] a transponder at an old cemetery in Glendale. [This GPR device is used by dragging it along the ground. Here she is carrying it.]
More, bigger, better, faster: It's the American way. In an age where devices can diagnose disease, predict severe weather and balance our checkbook, it's easy to think that science and technology can clear up everything that ails us.
But there is only so much our discoveries can do.
Two University of Arizona graduate students spent a recent morning can vassing a 2-acre [1-acre] Glendale cemetery to uncover mysteries hidden beneath its desert floor. Glendale Molokan Church hired them to find graves at the 90-year-old site. [See: High-tech search fails to uncover cemetery's secrets] Dozens of people are buried there, but church records are in complete [non-existent], and several fires have destroyed some of the wooden grave markers.
The church wanted to find the graves of children who died during the 1918 flu epidemic, but the high-tech radar equipment wasn't able to see through the soil's high clay content.
How exciting it would be to piece together the area's history, not to mention restore the graves of our ancestors. [No restoration was planned, just marking.]
But the fruitless search provides us with a good lesson: No matter how much we'd like to solve every mystery and invent every cure, there are unknowns in our lives that are just supposed to remain unknowns.
There is no gadget that can conveniently solve age-old mysteries, and even if there were, maybe we really wouldn't want to know all the answers. Sometimes the mystery surrounding an event is the best part.
Of course, curiosity often inspires invention, and attempting to understand the unknown often leads to great things. After all, if it weren't for those scientists who wanted to see the moon, we'd never have Velcro, astronaut ice cream and the Dustbuster vacuum.
If science can't tell us about those buried at the Molokan cemetery, what is there to do?
Let the past go and prevent future unmarked graves by affirming those most important in our lives. And understand that we don't need fancy tomb-stones to honor our departed loved ones -- good works and stories do just fine.
Back to Molokan NEWS