Family Upset Over Eclipse Watch Event At Cemetery

FRANKLIN, Ky. - A family with members buried at a Simpson County, Kentucky cemetery is upset after pictures were posted of an eclipse watch event. 

Cynthia Summers said her cousin was visiting the Restlawn Memorial Gardens & Mausoleum in Franklin, Kentucky the day of the total solar eclipse.

"She was stopped at the entrance and asked to pay $10 to get in," Summers told NewsChannel 5.

Her cousin was allowed in without having to pay to park and immediately noticed a couple sitting beside his grave marker. 

The owner, Eileen Santangelo, posted the pictures of the crowd to the company's Facebook page to thank everyone who joined but it also caught the wrong attention.

Some of the visitors were apparently camped out too close or possibly on the markers.

"If you know the cemetery there are grave markers here so here are these people camped out in front of the grave markers," Summers said. 

The post was eventually deleted after concerns over the lack of respect for the grave sites.

"I was shocked and I was more angry. I mean why? Why would people feel like it's ok to park in the grass beside the grave stones and bring out a chair and sit beside one?" Summers strongly questioned. 

NewsChannel 5 spoke to Santangelo after hearing several complaints. She said the money collected from parking will not be used personally.

"It will be going into the perpetual care and that will be the future care for everyone's graves," Santangelo explained. 

She urged that the visitors were not out of the line and were allowed to park on an empty section of the cemetery. She added that they started crowding around the trees during totality. 

Santangelo said she took down the post when she realized that people were offended and wanted to apologize.

"I'm sorry. It was never our intention at Restlawn to offend anyone or be disrespectful," she said. 

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