Woman, son paint and place 400 crosses in southern IL cemetery

Woman, son paint and place 400 crosses in cemetery. (Source: Mike Mohundro, KFVS)
Woman, son paint and place 400 crosses in cemetery. (Source: Mike Mohundro, KFVS)

ALTO PASS, IL (KFVS) - A Heartland woman and her son have worked for months in preparing some new crosses to display in their local cemetery. 

Suzie Murray of Alto Pass, with the help of her son Joel, have painted roughly 400 crosses to be placed at the graves in the Alto Pass Cemetery for those who served in the military. 

"I consider it a privilege to do this," Murray said. "It's an honor and a privilege to serve them."

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Murray and her son have spent every moment they could painting these crosses since they started this in February.

"My friend Roy, he made the crosses," Murray explained. "I have been painting, he has been painting and we've painted and painted and painted. Everything in our house has white-speckled spots of paint all over everything but with each spot, there's a memory."

She said there were crosses there that looked aged and some even broken. She felt they needed to be replaced and refreshed for those that fought for America to continually show them respect.

"The crosses that were here were in really bad shape," Murray said. "They needed paint. They were rotten. They were just really horrible looking."

Murray said she took the place of Don Smith on the Alto Pass Cemetery Trustee Board after he died a couple years ago. 

"He was a military man and was proud of that fact and proud of the fact that he sat on that board," Murray stated. "He wasn't very proud of the fact that the crosses looked the way that they did. So when I took his seat after he passed away, I made a vow, a promise, that I would see to it that every cross was replaced, repainted and new again."

She said it was her goal to continue the upkeep of the property and to also do what she could to show respect for those that fought for us.

"My son gets to go to school where he wants. He gets to drive a car if he wants because of these people," Murray said. "They gave all!"

Murray also plans to have extra crosses already painted to replace any future crosses that get weathered or damaged. 

On Tuesday, she and fellow board members plan to place flags into the top of each cross to be on display for Memorial Day. The crosses, however, will stay up throughout year-round. 

Now that the crosses are up and the flags yet to be placed, Murray said she is going to miss coming to the cemetery as much as she has recently but plans on keeping up with the property. 

"It's kind of bittersweet," Murray said. "I'll miss coming every weekend but I'll still come every weekend because there is much still yet to do."

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