I wrote last year about this cemetery and some of it's history.
But, then there are the trees. These ancient trees speak to me. I wonder if they speak to each other?
Do they encourage each other to be strong? In the face of decades of tornadoes, ice storms, wind storms, droughts, floods, and everything else that nature has offered them, they don't give up. I saw a very large depression in the ground with the remnants of a rotten stump. Do the trees whisper to each other that one of them has fallen? Does this increase their resolve to remain strong until the younger trees can grow to a size to shade the soldiers?
They shade the grave of Gen. Slack. And they shade the graves of all the unknown soldiers who rest with him.
How long can they continue to stand and put out leaves each spring?
They remind me of a photo I saw of a 92 year old World War II veteran who had the opportunity to visit the new WWII memorial in Washington, DC. He flew out on a Honor Flight from our airport wearing his old uniform. My company helps sponsor these flights so that the few surviving WWII vets who are able to travel have the opportunity to see it. Anyhow, in the picture he made a valiant effort to stand straight and salute.
The trees here are very much like this gentleman. Proud to salute those resting there but too old to stand straight anymore.
I wonder if they will still be there next Memorial Day? Will any finally fall when the next storm comes? Or will they make it another year? Just waiting for the small ones to relieve them of guard duty?
With quiet dignity and resolve they stand... and have stood.
These ancient guardians made of wood.
Watch and shelter the men who rest beneath
Their broken arms and leafy wreaths.
Their roots embrace the mighty flood
Nourished by their heroes' blood.
The cemetery is so quiet and isolated it seems impossible it can be so close to downtown Fayetteville.
This stone is in the National Cemetery. Like most of the stones in the Confederate Cemetery it honors someone unknown. Someones father, husband, friend. Somewhere there are people wondering what happened to him and where he can be. I wish I could tell them to rest easy. Because he is. And he is honored on this Memorial Day.