Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day 2014

This is a post from Memorial Day 2013. Today, the Veterans of Foreign Wars will hold a ceremony honoring all veterans buried at historic Cave Hill National Cemetery. 

This day is especially tender for me as I think of my nephew Bryan who served four years in the U.S. Coast Guard and then in the Air Force Reserves. 

Rest in peace, dear one.

Union graves
Cave Hill National Cemetery
(photo source: Belle)

Today is Memorial Day in America. It is a day when we as a nation honor those soldiers who have died fighting in our many wars.

Originally created in 1868, this holiday was named Decoration Day and was set aside as a day to honor Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the American Civil War (1861-1865). 

Within the historic Cave Hill Cemetery here, there is a four-acre national cemetery dedicated to Union and Confederate soldiers who were killed in battle or more likely died from disease or exposure. 

Confederate graves
Cave Hill National Cemetery
(photo source: Belle)

There are over 6000 Union soldiers buried along the green hillsides of the cemetery and over 200 Confederate soldiers. On this day, the cemetery places a flag at each marble tombstone; an American flag at each Union grave, while Confederate flags mark the graves of those who died fighting for the South.

(I had a great-uncle on my mother's side who fought in the Confederate Army. I wrote a little about him last Memorial Day which, if you are interested, you can read here.)

It is quite moving to gaze upon row after row of white markers and realize that under each one lies someone's son, brother, husband, father, uncle. Most of the gravestones are inscribed with the soldier's name, date of birth and death (if known), and the state that he called home. 

The saddest stones are simply a short, square marble post - name unknown.


  1. I had a great-great relative who fought for the Union army, and was a prisoner at Andersonville (he survived the ordeal)! We visited there a few years back, and it's a lovely, interesting, sobering place. Thinking of you on this day of remembrance, Belle.

    1. Thanks for your kind thoughts, Kathy. I am sorry that I didn't know to visit Andersonville on my last Grand Southern Literary route took me right past its highway exit. I looked on the park's website and had no idea that it is the only park dedicated to all American prisoners of war. It must be fascinating and like you say, a sobering place.