ashes of 1,639 people buried in common grave in ceremony*
from latimes: They are the unidentified, the estranged, those whose loved ones just couldn't afford to bury them. In a simple yet poignant ceremony Wednesday near a busy Boyle Heights intersection, the ashes of more than 1,600 people who had never been identified or whose bodies were never claimed were buried in a single grave. The mass burial has become a custom each December at the Los Angeles County Crematory and Cemetery. This year's ceremony was attended by just a few, none of whom knew the deceased. The Rev. Chris Ponnet, a chaplain at County-USC Medical Center, led the service for "the nameless and the named but unclaimed" — 1,639 bodies in all. Interfaith burial rites and prayers were included, with readings from the Islamic, Buddhist, Jewish and Christian traditions. The ceremony concluded with the Serenity Prayer, Psalm 23 and a blessing of hands over the burial site. "I think it's commendable that the county doesn't bury them in the dead of the night," Ponnet said. "It says we have a depth of humanity."