The tractor-trailer from the A&E television show “Shipping Wars” delivers a columbarium to the new veterans’ cemetery in Roswell on May 7. The episode aired on Tuesday night. (Randal Seyler Photo)
The Gen. Douglas L. McBride-Roswell Veterans’ Cemetery was featured on A&E’s “Shipping Wars” television show earlier this week, but the show wasn’t exactly delivered as promised.
One segment of the show featured the delivery of a columbarium to the veterans’ cemetery, which happened here on May 7. The Chaves County Veterans’ Cemetery Board and local veterans joined together in early May to hold a dedication ceremony for the delivery of the columbarium.
In the show, which aired on Tuesday, the veterans’ cemetery took a backseat to a tombstone dedicated to aliens, which was also delivered by the “Shipping Wars” driver. However, local officials associated with the cemetery had been assured that the alien would not usurp the Roswell segment.
“What they did was wrong,” said City Councilor Jeanine Corn Best said on Wednesday. “This was supposed to show America how this group banded together to create this cemetery for our veterans and they sh-t on it. A&E sh-t on our veterans.”
“I was very disappointed in it, it made the alien deal look bad and it made us look bad,” said Bert Eldridge of the county cemetery board. “I called them today and told them I was very upset the way they did it.”
In the episode, driver Marc Springer submitted the low bid for the contract to deliver two columbaria from Ocean Springs, Miss., to Roswell. But when Springer arrived at the shipping point, he discovered the pair of columbaria were too heavy for a single load. However, an alien monument was added to the shipment.
“I was very disappointed,” said Jason Bethany of Anderson-Bethany Funeral Home. “They told us they wouldn’t use the alien footage at all.”
The producers of the show assured the local groups involved that the alien footage would be used in a different episode than the veterans’ cemetery footage.
“We argued with them for two weeks; we didn’t want the alien deal messed with in our deal,” Eldridge said. He added that the cemetery board is looking at possibly taking legal action against A&E.
“It was real crappy what they did,” Eldridge said. “I am not against the alien thing — it brings good money for Roswell — but we told them we wouldn’t do the show if they were going to put us with the alien thing.”
Eldridge said he felt the episode was disrespectful to the veterans’ cemetery and to veterans in general.
“They cut out a lot of stuff, we put a lot effort into getting people there to make a good show and they cut it out — I guess there is not much we can do about it.”
The city should be upset with A&E and “Shipping Wars” due to the negative way Roswell was portrayed, Eldridge said. “It was just crap. We didn’t need them to make the town look stupid.”
Eldridge said he had called A&E and left comments on its website expressing his dissatisfaction with the show.
“I know that Bert and Jason signed a paper with A&E and there was a handshake, but then A&E just crapped on them,” Corn Best said.
“This is just another blow to our veterans,” she said. “First, they have all these problems with the VA and health care, and now this. A&E has just spit on our veterans and it is just horrible.”
The columbarium was installed and the cemetery is being readied for the July 4 weekend, Eldridge said. An opening ceremony and memorial service for about 20 veterans will be held at 10 a.m. on July 4 in the new veterans’ cemetery.
Tax-deductible donations can be made to Embrace Inc. at P.O. Box 4425 Roswell, NM 88202 or by calling Bert Eldridge at 420-7107.