Recent blog posts – Thinking About Historic Graveyards by Sarah Kay Bierle and ECW Weekender: Congressional Cemetery by Ryan Quint – inspired this week’s inquiry:
Do you have a favorite historical graveyard to visit?
Confederate Cemetery, Resaca GA — absolutely beautiful
I like the quietness of the Spotsylvania Confederate Cemetery. I live 10 minutes away and go there sometimes to walk the grounds and contemplate life.
– Michael Aubrecht
Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia. It’s a physically beautiful Victorian cemetery with a highly diverse selection of residents with Civil War ties. From Union generals George G. Meade, Charles F. Smith, Samuel Crawford (and 7 other Union generals) to Confederate general John C. Pemberton (and his 2 Union-siding brothers), to Col Richard Rush of Rush’s Lancers fame, to non-combatants like correspondent George Alfred Townsend (creator of The Gathland corespondent’s memorial in MD), there is enough “Civil War history” at Laurel Hill to warrant repeat visits. I also like the fact that you can sponsor a new GAR market for those Civil War veterans with damaged or no marker. Its a nice and respectful way to connect to the past.
I don’t know if I have a favorite, I’ll say that each graveyard I visit is evocative in its own way. That said, there are several that have made very big impacts on me when I visited them (in no particular order):
1. Arlington National Cemetery – the “American Valhalla” to quote Eric Larrabee; nuff said.
2. Fredericksburg National Cemetery – for most of the city’s history after 1865 (until the 1990s) more men were buried on that hill than lived within the city limits.
3. Langemarck German Cemetery – where the German students died from First Ypres. I visited right after graduating college, and the impact affects me to this day.
4. American Cemetery, Colleville-sur-Mer, (Omaha Beach) France – beautiful and moving in its simple dignity all at the same time. Many men are buried on the heights they died trying to capture.
5. City Cemetery, Ciechanow, Poland – my great-grandparents are buried there, not far from many dead (mostly from 21st “Children of Warsaw” Regiment) of the 1939 campaign; visiting in 2014 fulfilled a lifelong dream.
I haven’t been to any of the others, but I will second the nomination of Arlington National Cemetery. I think the fact that Meigs put bodies around Mrs. Lee’s garden makes the site an especially poignant one.
Two cemeteries that come to mind in regards to this question. The Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery in Lexington, VA. and Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta, GA.
I agree with Chris. Nothing tops the majesty of Arlington.
My No. 2: The Pleasant Township cemetery near our home west of Columbus, OH. The area was settled in the late 18th-early 19th century, even before Ohio became a state. It’s filled with Revolutionary War veterans and those who served in Grand Army of the Republic during the CW. Boy scout troops and vets organizations place small American flags by the grave sites of veterans each Memorial Day.
If you want to get youngsters, especially boys, interested in history, take them to a cemetery where veterans are interred. Give them a quick rundown of the war in which each interred veteran served. Retelling local ghost stories can add to a youngster’s fascination.
My three grandsons always asked to visit the Pleasant Township graveyard whenever they came over to our house.
Arlington – Two cousins resting places. Family and I were in such awe nobody spoke after we left for hours. Just overpowering.
American Cemetery overlooking Omaha I Thank GOD for everyone of those boys
Proud of Arlington, Hollywood in Richmond so full of every thing our heros stood for, And on a sad note a tiny three grave plot in a field in Summersville West Va. 3 Rebels graves . now gone its a store parking lot. never found out if they were moved or not no one seems to know !
Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery in Lexington, Virginia. Enchanted.
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