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Headstones placed at 58 infant graves left unmarked for decades

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH ) — This weekend an Indianapolis woman will honor the lives of more than 50 babies all buried together.

The babies all died before birth or during infancy, some as long ago as 1957 in Plainfield’s Maple Hill Cemetery

Now, a local ministry and some community partners want to make sure each one is properly recognized, identified, and honored.

“I feel like this just speaks honor over these lives to see their names written in stone,” Linda Znachko, founder of He Knows Your Name, said. “It feels permanent and it feels like we’re marking the earth with the fact that these lives were in fact lived.”

58 new headstones are settled within three rows of infant graves.

“They’ve been here without markers on their graves for over 50 years, some of them,” Znachko said.

Saturday Znachko plans to honor the life of each one of the babies.

“They had a purpose even if they lived a few hours or really didn’t ever take a breath this side of the womb. They still are significant members of families and they need to be remembered,” Znachko said.

Her path to this purpose has been unpredictable.

Last Fall she took the lead in helping the family of Dominique Allen find a headstone and plan a proper burial. Allen was just 15 years old when she was murdered in August.

“Dominique Allen’s life is showing so much purpose still, in that my going to Thomas Monument was for Dominique Allen’s headstone,” Znachko said.

Thomas Monument provided all 58 headstones, and Dammann’s Lawn & Garden will place greens on each plot for Saturday’s dedication.

Znachko said she hopes those who attend the dedication and visit the graves will take an important message with them.

“When we honor life and we remember life and say every life matters, every life is sacred, I think it draws out of us our own identity and significance,” Znachko said. “We ourselves remember that our lives are precious.”

The dedication is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, March 7, 2015 at Maple Hill Cemetery in Plainfield. Anyone is welcome to attend.