A growing tree consumes a grave. Chalmette National Cemetery (LA), May 27, 2019. Photo by Eric Earling.
You don’t have to visit a grave on Memorial Day, but one such holiday I encourage you to visit a National Cemetery. See the flags marking each grave. See the families visiting loved ones. See the stillness of the moment.
This Memorial Day I went to the closest National Cemetery to me in New Orleans: at Chalmette, site of the Battle of New Orleans in 1815, where General Andrew Jackson led a motley army in throwing back a British assault on the Gateway to the Mississippi.
Chalmette is an odd National Cemetery. A little east of New Orleans proper, and founded to inter the dead of the Civil War. Thus, it’s a small national cemetery dominated by Union dead in the Deep South. Though it is on a battlefield of the War of 1812 there are few such veterans buried there.
Sure, there are Louisianian veterans who died in later wars as well, but the Civil War graves dominate the grounds. And being of the blue and not the grey, not mention mostly over a century old, there weren’t but a handful of visitors as I spent an hour or so in the sultry 90 degree heat of the Gulf South summer that is already upon us.
It made for better pictures though, which I share here as a window into this National Cemetery visit, in photo essay form. Follow the journey in the captions, and stay to the end:
The cigarette in the picture above was still smoking when came upon this memorial. I’ll never forget that.
And that’s why you should visit a National Cemetery sometime on Memorial Day. You too may find something you’ll never forget as well.