Don't misunderstand me, please. If I have an opportunity to stroll through a "new" cemetery, I'm going to take it. And I'm just as likely to wander around, getting lost in the stories among the stones, no matter their age. But when I'm traveling, or researching a place to study, it's usually the old I seek.
After attending the Memorial Day service at Veterans Memorial Park in Fannin County, Georgia, I knew I would visit a cemetery. I wanted to do my part in remembering those that sacrificed their lives for my freedom. Our freedom.
I had two choices, since there are two cemeteries –- an older one and a newer one -- within a stone's throw of the park. I chose the new one. Maybe it was because it's placement made it seem like an extension of the park. Or maybe it was because I've only lived in this town a few months, and had not visited yet. I don't know for sure why I chose it, but I'm glad I did.
I do know, on this glorious day, I was struck by the color. Most of the time, in old and forgotten cemeteries, there is very little color. I love to decipher the oft drab and scattered tombstones, but this was a scene I have seldom been in of late. It was – dare I say when surrounded by death – uplifting.
And, let me tell you, I don't think I could walk six feet in any direction without being greeted by a marker bearing the name of a veteran. World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm. All were represented. With all branches of service. It was quite humbling. There were so many names to speak aloud. Loved ones I pray are never forgotten.
Jimmy's story is worth retelling. Click here.
The last image I took was for Ensign Thomas A. Wall of the U.S. Naval Air Corps. He was born 23 April 1922, and was lost 12 January 1945. Member Squadron V.C. 84. Ensign Wall was lost at sea with his plane from the U.S.S. Makin Island in the Battle of Lingayen Gulf, Luzon, Philippine Islands.
Thank-you for your service, Ensign Wall. Your sacrifice is not forgotten.