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Sunday, March 26, 2006

Bivouac of the Dead

As the lovely one and I wandered the battlefields in the Fredericksburg area today I caught myself thinking of what it must have been like, with over 100,000 fighting in just a few square miles. You read the markers, the books in the visitor center, and plaques along the walking tour, but it still doesn't set in.

The Fredericksburg National Cemetary however, bring to life the cost of the struggle between the states. Over 15,000 Union soldiers buried are buried in it; most of them (12,000+) unknown and buried in graves of 3-5 men. There is a separate cemetary for the Confederate soldiers, 3300 of them, 2/3's unknown.

On a set of markers at the National Cemetary I found this poem, which brought a tear to my eye as I read it, overlooking the thousands of tombstones and grave markers:

The muffled drum's sad roll has beat
The soldier's last tattoo;
No more on Life's parade shall meet
That brave and fallen few.
On fame's eternal camping ground
Their silent tents to spread,
And glory guards, with solemn round
The bivouac of the dead

When we returned home I needed to find out what the name of the poem was. It's "Bivouac of the Dead, the rest of the poem, and authors history can be found at ArlingtonCemetary.net. It was written in 1847 to honor the men of Kentucky who fell in the Mexican - American War, but was used by both the Union and Confederacy after the Civil War.

Never forget your freedom isn't free, many have paid a great sacrifice so that you can have the priviledge of taking those freedoms for granted. If you need a reminder, take a walk in one of the many VA National Cemeteries , but bring a tissue along.

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Blogger shoprat said...

We cannot honor all of our soldiers, living and dead, enough. Any man or woman who picked up a weapon and used it against an enemy of this nation is a hero.

9:31 PM  
Blogger Uber said...

Terrific post CP...sorry, left me without words.

7:13 AM  

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