The cemetery is adjacent to a busy street, one of the shopping arteries of the city. CVS and Walgreens pharmacies anchor the nearest street corners, and a Best Buy is just down the street. Driving by, you’d never see it. Perhaps you’d notice the small brick building, a one-room school house once. Today it would strike you as a storage shed of some sort.
Unless you parked and walked onto the grounds, you wouldn’t notice the trees, their calming shade, the creek that defines one border, or the obvious: the gravestones, most weather-worn to the point of being unreadable, a number tilting precariously, a few flat on the ground.
On this Memorial Day, a few are marked by small American flags, recognizing those who served the country. Fewer have a circular commemorative plaque. These souls amazingly served in the Revolutionary War, when this country was simply an untested idea, more a protest against an unfeeling and increasingly oppressive government across the ocean.
So much water has gone down this gurgling creek, under the peaceful shade of the trees, since these first veterans were laid to rest. Except for this singular spot, the quiet countryside has largely surrendered to a mercantile landscape. And many more veterans have followed the bodies buried under these gravestones, to maintain our liberty and allow the nation to polish this American dream.
Unfortunately, this process is never finished, neither honing the vision nor defending our liberty so we have the freedom to do so.
Simple words of thanks seem meager and shallow. Perhaps a few moments quietly reflecting in the shade of the trees, surrounded by these gravestones, will help me truly feel and appreciate the sacrifices made by so many — especially those who gave their lives. Sacrifices that allow me to live the life I do.
More photos of the cemetery here.