One of the few posts my husband ever wrote on the blog, definitely one of my favorites! Memorial Day weekend is time off for most of us, we gather as families and many of us visit the cemeteries of our loved ones to decorate the graves. This cemetery is located just blocks from the historic Fayetteville downtown square and the day we visited we were the only ones there. It contains the remains of men who died in the service of the Confederacy in North Arkansas. Some of the soldiers buried here died from illness in disease ridden camps or from battle in one of the most violent and desperately contested fronts of the Civil War. Their graves once dotted the hills of Northwest Arkansas until 1878 when the Southern Memorial Association of Washington County established the beautiful cemetery. The bodies of fallen soldiers were exhumed and brought here for final burial.
These pictures and the poignant words of my husband tell why we can never forget these old cemeteries...
The trees seem to watch over these soldiers, almost as if they stand at attention to salute those who rest beneath. 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 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. 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?
The graves in the old Confederate Cemetery honor someone's father, husband, friend. Somewhere there are family members who've never seen this cemetery. They can't imagine the beauty and the peace that surrounds their loved one. I just wish they knew that he is honored by all who call themselves Americans.