When visiting a cemetery, respect should guide your behavior. Cemeteries offer a peaceful setting where people come to mourn and remember their loved ones. Be mindful, so your actions don’t intrude on the privacy of others or disturb the tranquility of the cemetery.

When you arrive at the cemetery, look for posted rules. They will provide guidelines for what is allowed on graves, including flowers, flags, and markers.

Other useful information such as a point of contact and their phone number may be posted as well as hours for visiting graves may be listed. Observe posted rules to preserve the cemetery and to make the caretaker’s job easier.

Drive on the Roadways

Leave your vehicle in the parking lot, if possible. If you drive through the cemetery, stay on the roadways and go slowly. Watch for other people who may be distracted.

Offer to the pull to the side if you meet another vehicle on a narrow roadway. Never drive on the grass.

Keep the Noise Down

While complete silence isn't expected, you should be quiet. Lower your voice and don’t use vulgar language. Set your cell phone to vibrate so it doesn’t disturb others. If you’re in a vehicle, turn down the radio volume.

While it’s okay to acknowledge strangers in passing, don’t approach them to start a conversation. Most people want to be alone when visiting their loved one’s grave.

If you bring children to a cemetery, teach them to respect the setting. They shouldn’t yell or play on the monuments; it’s not a playground. Keep them close by. Take the opportunity to teach children appropriate behavior.

Don’t Disturb Graves

Never take flowers or other items from other graves. The mementos have been placed there to honor the dead. It may also be illegal.

If possible, avoid walking over graves and don’t stand on them. You shouldn’t lean or sit on memorials. It may cause damage. Pay special attention to older monuments, as just touching them can be destructive.

Never Leave Behind Litter

Properly dispose of any litter. Look for a garbage receptacle. If one isn’t available, take your debris with you.

Old or damaged flower arrangements can quickly turn into a mess. Place old flowers in a garbage bag while at the grave to avoid dropping debris on the walk back to your vehicle.

If there’s a funeral when you arrive, consider waiting until the service is over or come back at another time. If you enter the cemetery anyway, stay silent when you’re nearby. Don’t intrude on the family’s mourning with thoughtless behavior. Never get in the way of a funeral procession.

Treat others as you would like to be treated during a difficult time.