Blades of Grass and Pure White Stones

30 JC Cemetery VeteransLinda Burton posting from Jefferson City, Missouri – It was a solemn ceremony. Taps always makes me cry; the other music too – the National Anthem, This is My Country, When Johnny Comes Marching Home; quartets a capella, the droning of bagpipes, the two-bell toll as the names of the recent dead are called. It was meaningful too; the crowd rowed up under the shading trees; the veterans standing to the edge, Legion patches on their vests; the visitors with flowers in hand, looking for a special grave; the green, green grass and the pure white stones.

30 JC Cemetery Stone GrassBurial dates in the Jefferson City National Cemetery go back to 1861; it started out as a burial place for Civil War soldiers from the area. The site was surveyed for classification as a national cemetery, but its official designation didn’t happen until 1867, after about 350 internments. The cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Place in 1998; it is closed to new internments now, except for veterans and eligible family members in an existing gravesite.

30 JC Cemetery UnknownI wandered among the markers; Site 580 marked the resting place of an Unknown; connect the dots; an unknown family somewhere, sometime, grieved. Over there a tiny pot of petunias blocked the spouse’s name of Elsie L, the wife, b 1894 d 1985, a 30 JC Cemetery Wifelong long life; a pure white stone. Not every grave had flowers, but every one, every single one, was graced with an American flag.

The Memorial Day program was sponsored by the Jefferson City Veteran’s Council; a luncheon for veterans and their families was held at American Legion Post 5 afterwards. Next for me was the concert at First Christian Church for more inspiring music; as I headed up the hill towards the gate, the plaintive sound of Taps followed me all the way.