Sunday, May 30, 2010

Take a Moment...

Hi. I'm "Hubby" that Joycee refers to from time to time. She has been encouraging me to write a blog of my own but I have no desire to invest the time that she does in hers. So today I am going to piggy back off of her!

My folks are both still living in Fayetteville. They are mostly house bound since driving has become an issue. So, when we go to visit we try to think of someplace to take them to get them out of the house. Since this is Memorial Day weekend we decided to visit the National Cemetery. I'd never been there so we depended on them for directions. They rarely agree on anything and directions were no different. Mom finally said to turn right on 6th Street. If we turned left a mile or so before 6th Street we would have gone to the Confederate Cemetery. Confederate Cemetery? Now I'm interested.

First to the National Cemetery. The beautifully manicured lawns and gleaming headstones all laid out in a perfect rows. Each stone marked with the name and vitals of the occupant. Most marked with a cross. Some marked with a cross, a circle, and a heart. We decided this differentiated the Protestants from Catholic. A few showed what appears to be a bugler. I wonder if this might be Jehovah's Witnesses. No clue. The few I saw with the Star of David were pretty self explanatory. Some of those buried there died in combat during World War II, Korea, Viet Nam and Gulf. Most didn't. They served their time and returned home to live out their lives in the peace and freedom they earned for all of us.

A group of middle aged folks on motor cycles pulled in. They knew someone buried there and had come to honor him. What is it about bikers that they always seem so patriotic? Maybe it is the freedom associated with riding that reminds them that their freedom was paid for by those buried here. More on that later.

When we left the National Cemetery I wanted to visit the Confederate Cemetery. Like the National Cemetery it is within the city limits but the difference was staggering. It was in a very country type setting. Almost spooky! The grounds weren't neatly mowed although there was a John Deere mower parked nearby. Hopefully the owner will climb on soon and make the dead proud. The stones weren't gleaming marble and I only saw two that were even marked to denote the occupant. It is kind of sad. Here is a link to give more information on the cemetery and includes the names of those known to be buried there. Most are unknown and forgotten. They are casualties of the different battles fought in the area. The Pea Ridge battlefield is close by and was the largest battle fought west of the Mississippi River.

One cemetery is funded by our tax money. The other isn't. One cemetery contains the remains of Americans who served the United States. The other contains the remains of Southerners who served the Confederacy. But, they are all Americans.

Many of those buried here didn't die in combat. They died of injuries and infections they got in combat. Or they died of disease or the elements they endured waiting for combat.

These weren't professional soldiers. They were farmers and merchants who volunteered to endure hardship and battle because they believed in the cause. They never got back to the farms and shops and families they left. They didn't like the federal government running their lives. If that sounds familiar it's because many of us feel the same way today. Fortunately, we have found ballots are better than bullets. Our government is elected and, if we aren't happy with how things are we can vote them out!

Below are a few pictures we took of the Confederate Cemetery.

The gazebo was really neat.

This monument, the gate and rock walls and the gazebo are all that is there to show appreciation. It's kind of sad. But that is how history works. It is written and subsidized by the winners.

One thing that really stood out was the ancient oaks and maples on the grounds. I wonder if they were planted when the cemetery was consecrated? Certainly they appear to be old enough. The rough and gnarled bark as well as the shape and obviously missing limbs are a testament to the years and harsh weather they have endured. And yet they live on. I like to think they take their responsibility to dead seriously and refuse to quit.

It's amazing how nature has allowed the wounds of the trees to heal and allow the trees to continue their vigil.

It's as if by living they want to remind us of the sacrifices and suffering endured by the folks buried there.

And after all, that is what Memorial Day really is all about. Our country has fought many wars during our short history. Looking back, some were more necessary than others. Some more popular than others. Some we look back with pride. Some we would like to forget.

I read about the "Greatest Generation". My dad was part of this. When they came home they were heroes for ridding the world of fascism and giving others the right to live in freedom. But I can also remember how the veterans of Viet Nam were treated. It is a shame on America that we must always remember.

I think I am finally getting to the point. The Bible says there will always be wars and rumors of wars. There will always be little men with big ambitions. There will always be reasons for war. Some good and some bad. There will always be a need for people to put their dreams on hold and their lives on the line. No matter your feelings for the conflict you should separate them from your appreciation for those doing the fighting. They didn't declare the war. Those folks are usually somewhere safe. They are the ones called on to fight the war. They are the ones buried in these two cemeteries.

Freedom isn't free. It comes with a price. So, while you are enjoying the weekend cooking out with friends and family or boating out on the lake, take a minute. Just one minute to remember that you can do this because someone else put their life on the line for you. Support the troops even if you can't support the war.


  1. Great post! I didn't realize that there was a confederate cemetery in Fayettville. Thanks for the information and pictures!

  2. Enjoy your post so much and have your link on my blog I have a lot of family in Arkansas. I presently reside in Pikes Peak region in Colorado. I design a summer flip flop you might like and it can be found on my blog. HAPPY SUMMER!

  3. Well I agree that having a blog is such a huge undertaking.
    You did a great job as a guest "poster".
    It is such a shame that some cemeteries are not taken care of with the respect they deserve.

  4. Thank you for a beautiful post and maybe you could post your images lovally and garner some interest from those likeminded who might want to take on the forgotten cememtery as a project. Thanks for sharing. Oh and You two make a wonderful team.

  5. sorry I meant to say "locally".

  6. Joy, my hubs will be thrilled to see your write today, when he gets home from marching with the Sons of Confederate Veterans in Gaithersburg, MD, today. We have a Confederate cemetery here that is/was terribly neglected until our SCV men took over the task of caring for it, while the cemetery that literally surrounds it is manicured beautifully. Sad, terribly sad.

    Your write is magnificent & THANK YOU for bringing these souls to all our attention ... they were very important people in our nations history.

    Bless you, sweet lady.
    TTFN ~ Hugs, Marydon

  7. Joy,

    What a beautiful and powerful post. Each of these graves sends a powerful message, and one often wonders when looking at one.. what about his family and his loved ones.. each has a story to tell.. a very, very sad story indeed. Then when you observe the whole cemetery, it can become overwhelming..

    Some say that the price of freedom is too great. Is it? If we do not have freedom.. what do we have?

    We dedicate one day each year to honor these brave soldiers, sailors, and marines who have paid the price.. That is the least we can do. Your post hit the nail on the head. Thanks,

    Harold (Marydon's Husband)

  8. Grateful you cared to share your thoughts and experience with us. Nicely composed, I felt I was walking along side you. Stunning images.
    Would love to have you write again, maybe once a month or so.
    I am very much enjoying this blog. (Totally understnding how much time they take!)


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