A kiss and a prayer for our benefit


Alan Guebert writes "Farm and Food"

Alan Guebert writes “Farm and Foodstuff”

This year, Memorial Working day falls on its conventional day, Could 30, the working day set aside – at first as “Decoration Day” – to honor the nation’s military services lifeless following the Civil War. In 1971, nevertheless, Congressional fussbudgets unhooked the solemn day from custom and now it floats to what ever day follows the very last Sunday in Might.

That was a oversight, due to the fact Memorial Working day is now much more about a a few-day weekend to kick off summer months than a sacred minute or two among the weathered gravestones, honored dead and lives lower small as it had been for the former century or so.

But I, who hardly ever served in the military or even the Boy Scouts, have no particular assert to this getaway or the sacrifices it represents. My only link to these just one-time servants is that I from time to time wander among the the hundreds of armed service graves in a leafy, rolling 140-acre community cemetery a mile from my residence.

I’m not the initial visitor. According to community record, Indigenous People made use of its high ground to develop many effigy burial mounds concerning “C. 500-1000 A.D.”

They continue being, and it’s easy to see why. The cemetery sits atop a noteworthy rise to give each the dwelling and the useless a look at in each and every course — including eternity.

Very last Memorial Working day, local officers acknowledged the cemetery’s veterans with speeches, prayers and martial songs although standing below two, large burr oaks in the center of “Soldiers’ Rest,” a modest uniform plot keeping the earthly remains of 240 Union soldiers.

The small assistance was bathed in sunshine, solemnity and salutes.

In the meantime, just a rifle shot absent, 140 Confederate soldiers also lay in their flawlessly uniform, properly preserved graves. Analysis reveals that all were captured at the Battle of Island No. 10, a very long-forgotten siege of a Mississippi River redoubt near New Madrid, MO, in the 1862 Union thrust to retake the vital river. After their seize, the prisoners, largely Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee farm boys, were being marched north exactly where, in just a yr, these lots of died.

Nowadays, they lie as they have been buried: 600 or much more miles from home in a tranquil, inexperienced field. Just about every is marked with a pointed headstone so, as legend goes, no Yankee could sit on the stones for additional than an uncomfortable instant. Genuine or not, there they lie and no Yankee lingers.

Elsewhere through the burial grounds are other sections devoted to other veterans of other wars. Because the cemetery is additional than 160 years old, soldiers (and their spouses) who served in almost each American war, “police action” and confrontation are there. Most are from Planet War II or Korea. Several, however, are from Globe War I.

Their governing administration-issued markers expose other facets of war that are typically concealed to the non-veteran community. For instance, an beginner survey shows that a lot of Vietnam veterans died youthful as opposed to their Entire world War I and II compatriots. Often, pretty youthful — within 20 years of returning house.

What was it with that war that sent so many to early graves? Was it that even though people today argue more than what is a “good” war, no one argues that Vietnam was a lousy war?

Also, Entire world War I graves feel household to additional peonies, the first, actually showy spring flower in most of the North for Memorial Working day. Earth War II graves, on the other hand, often characteristic lengthier-long lasting hostas. Who realized?

Last 7 days, while strolling by the upper reaches of the now leafy burial floor, a squeaking, rusting SUV with a pretty loud stereo rolled gradually past and stopped 200 yards in advance. Just one defeat later, the ignition, its only working brake gentle, and the loud stereo went off.

Right after a transient pause, a younger-hunting woman got out of the entrance passenger seat and, hands folded in front of her, walked to a gravestone 40 yards to her correct. Immediately after a fast look she bent at the midsection to kiss the stone’s top. She then backed off a phase to say a prayer.

For her loss, I presume, and our benefit.

Alan Guebert is an agricultural journalist. See previous columns at farmandfoodfile.com.

This post initially appeared on South Bend Tribune: Farm and Foodstuff: A kiss and a prayer for our reward


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