I am a Tombstone Tourist: someone who loves to wander cemeteries. I find it akin to visiting a museum: an opportunity to enjoy rarely seen sculpture, intricate carvings, and amazing architecture, all in a tranquil outdoor setting. This blog is about cemetery culture, art, history, issues of death, and genealogy - subjects of current relevance. I usually find something that intrigues me and makes me want to dig deeper. Care to join me? Read on...
July 4th is a special date for Americans.Two hundred thirty five years ago, on this day, in 1776, our country officially declared its separation and freedom from Great Britain.And each year, on Independence Day, we still celebrate in hundreds of towns and cities across the country, with parades, picnics, barbecues, and fireworks.
Although we may have our differences as individuals, as a country, we still believe that America is the ‘land of the free and the home of the brave.’As a people, we still honor those who have fought, and those who have died, for our rights, our freedoms, and our country.
And that sense of pride in this country can be seen in cemeteries too.Unlike Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day – both holidays to honor those who have served, and those who have died for our country - July 4th is a day that holds a feeling of pride and promise.
Martin Luther King
We will remember our fallen service men and women on this day, but we will also remember those who returned.We will remember those who have made a difference in our culture, those who have fought to end racism, to end sexism, to end discrimination of all kinds, those who have helped to unify us as one nation, with liberty and justice for all.
In America, we have many symbols that represent freedom, symbols that are found in our cemeteries across the country.Symbols that remind and give hope to all who see them.
Although 235 years old, these words from the Declaration of Independence continue to ring true:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
As we enjoy this holiday weekend, let us pause and remember what we are celebrating – our freedom and independence – as individuals, communities, and as a country!
Happy Birthday America!
And – to our neighbors to the north – Happy Canada Day!