Archive for the ‘Cemeteries’ category

You Can Support Holiday Wreaths at the Soldiers’ Home Cemetery

December 11, 2017

Recently, I learned about Wreaths Across America, which each December on National Wreaths Across America Day, participates by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as over 1,000 additional locations in all 50 U.S. states, at sea, and abroad. The even this year is scheduled for Saturday, December 16th. Volunteers can participate in one of two ways. The first is by buying a wreath, which costs $15, to be placed on a veterans grave. The second is by volunteering to help place the wreaths at the cemeteries.

While the most well known cemetery is Arlington, there are many cemeteries that participate and many of them don’t have enough wreaths or volunteers to go around. One of those cemeteries  is at the Armed Forces Retirement Home (Volunteer or support a wreath here).

In checking out the details of the Soldiers’ Home wreath laying event, as of this this writing, there a total of 2,662 wreaths currently committed for 14,000 veteran graves. I think we can do better.

Details about the event is below and can also be found here.

Ceremony and Volunteer Information

Please join the young women of the DC metro area American Heritage Girls as we lay wreaths at US Soldiers’ & Airmen’s Home National Cemetery (DCSAHN) to honor and remember our deceased heroes. Please do not forget to register on the US Soldiers’ & Airmen’s Home National Cemetery (DCSAHN) to receive updates about the cemetery itself.

We will begin the ceremony at noon. Plan to arrive in time to park.  When you arrive, please gather around the flag pole for the ceremony.  Wreaths will be laid directly after the ceremony is over.

  • Everyone of all ages and backgrounds is welcome.
  • Ceremonies around the world will be starting at the same moment, so please be on time.
  • Please help ensure that all participants get the opportunity to place a wreath.
  • Please follow the instructions by volunteers on where to place wreaths, as well as “how” they should be placed.
  • We especially appreciate volunteers willing to help clean-up. Cleanup day will be in January.

The most important thing to remember is to have a wonderful experience participating in the ceremony and thank you so much for help Wreaths achieve our mission to remember, honor and teach.

Late 19th Century Stereoview Offers Rare View of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church at Rock Creek Cemetery

October 21, 2014

Here’s another great 19th century photograph I was able to get of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (aka the Rock Creek Church). This photo likely dates to the 1870s or 1880s and is a good companion to the snapshot I posted on September 4, 2014, which dates to around 1899. But whereas that photo shows the church’s south elevation, this image shows the north elevation, or rear of the building.

As I noted in the earlier post, the church largely burned in 1921 and was rebuilt. While the new structure was able to keep and incorporate three of the original walls, the church that visitors are familiar with today is markedly different than the one that was familiar to visitors a century ago.

Rock Creek Church

General John A. Logan and the Beginning of Memorial Day

May 28, 2012

General Logan’s tomb at the United States Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery on Harewood Road — just north of the old Soldiers’ Home

Almost two dozen communities claim the honor of having observed the first Memorial Day. With the Civil War recently over, it is likely that there were many local memorial days honoring those that had given their all for their country. Yet it is General John A. Logan who is most closely association with the holiday and given the most credit for making it a national holiday.

General Logan has this honor due to his official proclamation, as national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, to designated 30 May 1868 for the “purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion.”
Logan’s call for remembrance was issued on 5 May 1868 in his General Order No. 11.

The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war).

Logan believed that the role he played in establishing this national holiday “was the proudest act” of his life. And it remains his greatest legacy.

General Logan died on December 26, 1886. His final resting place is just inside the gates of the United States Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery on Harewood Road, just north of the Armed Forces Retirement Home. His tomb is easy to visit for anyone in the surrounding neighborhoods.

Stereograph view of General John A. Logan, ca. 1861-1865, image from Library of Congress


Dog Walking Banned from Rock Creek Cemetery

June 20, 2011

If you own a dog and like to go for long walks you probably already know this, but dog walking is no longer permitted at Rock Creek Cemetery. This change in policy went into effect at the start of June 2011.

Rev. Rosemari Sullivan, of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church/Rock Creek Cemetery, was at the June 14 ANC 4C meeting to officially inform the community of the new security policies they’ve recently implemented. Readers may recall that several bronze markers and small sculpture were stolen in March at the cemetery. To address this the grounds are being closed earlier and security has been increased. Rev. Sullivan is hopeful that thieves recently arrested in Maryland for thefts in cemeteries are also responsible for the ones here. But even so, she lamented that the bronzes stolen from Rock Creek Church Cemetery may never be recovered.

Regarding the change in policy toward dogs in the cemetery, Rev. Sullivan said that in the end it all boiled down to protecting the grounds and being respectful to families who’s loved ones are interred at Rock Creek. The first issue the church needed to address was the growing number of complaints from families who had come to pay their respects only to find dog feces on graves. The second problem was owners who off-leashed their pets on the grounds. Again, the church had been made aware that untethered dogs had intruded upon both those visiting grave sites and burial services.

To me, it would just seem to have been common sense that if one saw a funeral in progress you would do everything possible to be as unobtrusive as possible as a measure of respect. While I think it’s unfortunate that dog walking is no longer an option at Rock Creek Cemetery, I certainly understand their response to the circumstances and complaints.

Entrance to Rock Creek Cemetery, on Rock Creek Church Road


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