Items from graves at Griffin cemetery removed by city

- A Griffin family said they are grieving all over again after the city of Griffin said they can no longer decorate their son’s grave as they have for the past five years.

Steven Mann was born on Christmas Day, so for his parents and his two children this time of year has great significance.

“It is a very hard time of the year,” said Steven’s mother, Susan Mann. “We do love to decorate, we love to honor him and remember him and that is just how we do it.”

The Mann family would decorate his grave at Oak Hill Cemetery in Griffin with a Christmas tree along with items from Steven’s beloved Georgia Bulldogs and two flags his sons made when their father passed away.

“That hurts them and then that hurts me because they did not get to see their dad long,” said Steven’s father, Carl Mann.

On Tuesday, the Mann family found items missing from their son’s grave and found them in a bin along with other families’ items outside of the cemetery office.

Director of Public Works for the city of Griffin, Brant Keller told FOX 5’s Nathalie Pozo on the phone that only floral arrangements and flags during holidays are allowed, adding that this is not a new policy.

But a sign at the cemetery that said effective July 2016, said wood, plastic, including solar lighting, iron, including shepherd hooks along with others materials are prohibited at any city of Griffin cemetery.

The Mann family said they have had loved ones buried at the cemetery for 40 years and cannot understand why this is being enforced now, when it is not doing any harm.

“It's always been nice and neat and that is what I want it to be, but I want to be able to put something over here in remembrance of somebody,” said Carl Mann.

The Mann family hopes the city will have a change of heart.

“Don’t do this to us, we’ve had to bury him and we grieve, we have grieved, but this makes us grieve every time we come,” said Susan Mann. “If we can’t honor them the way we want to, it makes us grieve over and over.”

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