Cahokia Mounds and the Mother Jones Monument in Illinois

Drove the opposite direction to Cahokia Mounds, an UNESCO site. This was the largest city, about 20,00 inhabitants, North of Mexico. It flourished from about 1100 AD to 1400 AD when it died out. What remain today are many mounds, which served as elevations for temples, royal housing, and tombs. The largest is Monk’s Mound, fourteen acres at its base and one hundred feet high. The Mississippian Indians build it and the other mounds by carrying the dirt in baskets. The primary occupation of the citizens was agriculture. They also employed potters, metal workers, and other artisans. The only thing they did not have is a written language. No one knows why the city was abandoned.

On the way back home a sign fascinated us for Mother Jones’ Monument. Of course we had to investigate. We followed the signs, which lead us to a small cemetery outside of Mt. Olive, IL. At the Union Miner Cemetery was a monument dedicated to Mary Harris (Mother) Jones. Born in 1830 in Ireland, she came to the USA and was a seamstress in Chicago. She married. Her husband and children died in Memphis, TN in 1867 from disease. She saw the poverty of the people in Chicago while working as a seamstress for the rich patrons on Lake Shore Drive. She devoted her life to helping the poor immigrants receive fair pay for their wages. Since Illinois was a heavy mining area for coal she took up the cause of the miners rights to strike for better working conditions.

She traveled the country from Pennsylvania to Colorado organizing and stirring up the workers. Short in stature, she was a firebrand when she ascended the podium. All eyes riveted on her when she spoke in her deep voice. As her emotions grew stronger her voice deepened more. In 1905 she helped found the IWW and was instrumental in forming the Socialist Workers Party. She was on the staff of the UAW, quit, but came back later when she felt that the union’s policies had improved. She died at the age of 100 years in 1930 and was buried with her beloved miners in the cemetery.

Happy Memorial Day: God Bless America’s Troops

My God! How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy! ~Thomas Jefferson

I like writing early in the morning. Almost as much as I like sitting on a balcony overlooking the ocean with a cup of hot tea! So glad you can share a few minutes with me…

In the cemetery business, May is like December’s Christmas rush. For Memorial Day, everything has to be perfect, or as close as it can be. Every weed gone, every blade of grass cut, every shrub pruned. Not an easy task with spring rains and late season freezes in our part of the country. It’s also just two weeks after Mother’s Day, the second busiest weekend of the year.

Most everyone will take a ‘trip’ on Memorial Day weekend – to place flowers on the graves of loved ones and dear friends. Memorial Day is not only the unofficial beginning of summer – picnics, vacations, sunshine and down-time – it’s also the one weekend of the year dedicated to memories. It’s important to remember, however, that the holiday is intended to honor those who gave their lives in service to our nation. Here’s a bit of its history:

General John Logan, a Major General in the Union Army during the Civil War, is credited as the founder of Memorial Day. After the war, Gen. Logan resumed his seat in Congress. On May 5th 1868, Logan issued a proclamation to observe “Decoration Day” across America.

May 30th was chosen for the observance because it was not the anniversary of any Civil War battle. Twenty-seven states participated that first year. Most southern states refused to acknowledge the ‘union’ holiday for more than a decade. Instead, they held similar ceremonies on a separate day for their Confederate heroes.

By World War I, Decoration Day honored US veterans from any war. The holiday officially became “Memorial Day” in 1967 by Federal law. A year later, it moved to a floating date, the last Monday in May. Part of the national observance includes a ‘moment of remembrance’ at 3:00 p.m.

As you plan picnics, visit ancestors, and share your weekend with friends and family, take a few minutes to honor those who have preserved our lifestyle and heritage across the generations.

Fly a flag! Keep it aloft through September 11th and Veteran’s Day (Nov. 11th). If your flag is weathered, now is the perfect time to replace it. (Check with local veterans’ organizations to dispose of your tattered flag properly.)

Attend a Memorial Day observance. There is no more appropriate time to clap and cheer for our military heroes.

Take a flower or two from the bouquets you’re placing and put it on a nearby veteran’s grave. Even better, buy an extra bouquet for a veteran’s undecorated gravesite. They’re easy to find in American cemeteries – just look for the flags!

Say a prayer for the soldiers and families who are currently serving around the world.

Make a donation to a troop support project like USO or Support Our Troops.

Ask a veteran about their experiences. Many of those vital memories are lost with the deaths of our veterans. If you can, record their remembrances on tape or video-cam.

Walk through the cemeteries that you visit, and take a moment to appreciate the history and heritage preserved in those sacred grounds.

This is your opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to the many who serve and have served in our US Armed Forces. Let’s re-adopt the traditions of ‘Decoration Day’ and make them the focus of Memorial Day weekend. God bless and protect our troops and their families, and God bless America.

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Arlington Attractions – Robert E Lee Memorial House

Arlington County is a part of the Virginia state and is located directly across the Potomac River in the proximity of Washington D.C.They are connected to each other with several highway and railroad bridges and also one tunnel beneath the river.

Arlington is a meeting place for history and fun.The history of this city is closely linked with that of Washington.It was part of the original Federal City designed by Pierre L’Enfant.It is many a time said that Arlington is either the “Biggest Small Town” or the “Smallest Big City”, which ever way you perceive it to be.

The neighborhoods are fondly called the Urban Villages and include a mix of high-rise structures and the turn of the century homes.There are also high-end shopping malls and exclusive boutiques, best places to enjoy fine dining and lots of fun places to visit and cherish.

Arlington has 11 Metro shops and pedestrian friendly neighborhoods which makes cars a distant option.Visitors can access any place in Arlington with the minimum of hassle and saving up on time.

There are plenty of hotels and motels in the city which provide the best amenities and a world class service.Most of these lodging options are located near the major city attractions.

There are plenty of places worth visiting in Arlington.Some of these exude a historical solace while others showcase the more modern events in the country.Some of the most prominent attractions in Arlington include The Arlington National Cemetery, The Robert E.Lee Memorial, Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima), The Air Force Memorial, and the most famous The Pentagon (US Department of the State).

The Robert E.Lee Memorial: Arlington House was built by George Washington Parke Custis and his slaves between 1802 and 1818.It was later converted into a National Memorial and named after its last resident General Robert E.Lee whose wife Mary Custis had inherited it from her great grandfather George Washington.The Lees raised seven of their children in this home.Over the years it has served many purposes from being a home to the Head Quarters of the Union Soldiers.It was meant to be a monument dedicated to George Washington and also housed the community for the emancipated slaves.The area surrounding the house is now part of the National Cemetery.

The memorial is furnished as it was when the Lee family resided here.
Arlington National Cemetery: This is one of the most significant landmarks of the Arlington County.The cemetery is a shrine dedicated to the thousands of men and women who have given up their lives for the country since the Civil Wars.It is within walking distance of the Arlington Cemetery Metro Station.

The cemetery is spread over an area of over 612 acres and is the resting place for more than 200,000 veterans and their dependents of every bloody conflict that the US has faced till date.The site also has the eternal Flame at the gravesite of John F.Kennedy and his wife.

The Pentagon: This is the Headquarters of the Department of Defense of the United States and is considered to be a virtual powerhouse of activities.It is one of the largest office buildings in the world.The premises are a virtual city with 23,000 employees, both services and civilian, engaged in formulating plans and techniques for the security and defense of the country.

Carnton Plantation and the “Widow of the South” – The True Story

When Civil War historian and preservationist Robert Hicks released his book The Widow of the South in 2005, he fictionalized the story of Carrie McGavock, who turned acres of her family’s home, Carnton Plantation, into a cemetery for the Confederate dead after the second Battle of Franklin, Tennessee. A best-seller, Hicks’ novel brought a long-forgotten chapter in the story of the Civil War to a new generation of readers. Hicks’ novel is a work of fiction, but the real story of Carnton Plantation, Carrie McGavock and the cemetery she helmed is just as fascinating.

Carnton Plantation, located at Franklin, Tennessee, was constructed between 1815 and 1826 by former Nashville mayor Randal McGavock. Presidents James Polk and Andrew Jackson were both visitors to Carnton, which McGavock built the plantation on the site of a Revolutionary War land grant belonging to his father. Carnton originally consisted of around 1,420 acres.

Following Randal McGavock’s death in 1843, Carnton was passed to Randal McGavock’s son, John. In 1848, John wed his first cousin, Carrie Elizabeth Winder. The couple had five children, but lost three of them in childhood, leaving only two, Winder and Hattie, to survive into adulthood.

Carnton was the essence of a prosperous antebellum plantation; before the Civil War, the net worth of the McGavock family was $339,000, which adjusted for inflation, would be several million dollars in today’s currency. The plantation produced wheat, oats, corn, hay, potatoes, but was primarily a livestock plantation, raising cattle, hogs, and thoroughbred horses.

When the Civil War began, John McGavock, like many other planters, was exempted from service in the Confederate Army. He, Carrie, their two surviving children, and a handful of slaves – the remaining 30-odd slaves having been sent South to family plantations in Louisiana and Alabama – remained at Carnton. John was given the honorary title of “Colonel.”

The war came to Franklin, and near Carnton, twice; first in 1863, and then in 1864, during the second Battle of Franklin, the battle that would immortalize the McGavocks and Carnton as a shrine to the Confederate dead.

The second Battle of Franklin was fought right in the McGavock’s backyard – less than a mile from the house – on November 30, 1864. Confederate General John Bell Hood’s troops met those of Union General John McAllister Schofield in a bloody battle that dealt the Confederates a severe blow; Hood’s Confederate Army of Tennessee counted 7,000 men as casualties, among them 1,700 dead, while Schofield counted 2,300, with only around 200 dead.

Like many homes in the area, Carnton was used as a hospital after the battle. However, Carnton’s size meant that the plantation was host to more casualties than any other home in the area. As the battle wound down, hundreds of wounded men were brought to Carnton.

It has been estimated that at least 300 men were cared for inside the Carnton home, and that countless many more were cared for on the extensive grounds outside the house, in tents or in slave quarters, and in many cases, on the cold ground.

It was a horrific scene for Carrie McGavock and her children to witness, and to become a part of; McGavock and her children assisted in the care of the men brought to their home, a home that is stained today with the blood of the men who were brought there, blood that was soaked up by the lush carpets, only to stain the wood floors beneath. Carrie McGavock’s dresses were reportedly stained with blood at the hem for days to come, and the nursery became an operating room, with amputated limbs thrown out the window to stack a story high against the house.

Some 150 men died that first night at Carnton, for months, the McGavock family cared for others who remained in their home. Carrie McGavock nursed the men herself, changing bandages, tending to fevers, and writing letters home.

Are you a fan of the American Civil War?

Do you love reading about its history?

Sorting Out the 5 McCager Napier’s of Perry County, Kentucky

In June 1861, a small lad in Newark, Ohio gazed at Union troops marching through his town and despite his too young age, he wanted to join up and fight in the Civil War. The boy’s name was John Joseph Klem.

Earlier, Klem tried to enlist in the 3rd Ohio Infantry, but because of his age and small size, young Klem was turned away. Johnny Clem (he would be known by this name and spelling, later he would be called Johnny Shiloh, and officially he changed his name to John Lincoln Clem) was persistent with his desire to join the army, so he trailed along with the 22nd Massachusetts as it marched through Newark.

The 22nd Massachusetts made Clem its mascot and drummer boy. A sawed-off rifle and a small uniform were provided him, and officers of the Massachusetts unit pooled together to pay Johnny the regular soldier’s pay of thirteen dollars a month. Johnny was not yet even 10-years-old, but now he was a drummer (but, not necessarily a good one!), unofficially fighting for the Union.

Two years later, Johnny Clem would be allowed to enlist. On May 1, 1863 Johnny officially became a musician in Company C, 22nd Michigan. A nurse describes Johnny Clem; “was a fair and beautiful child…about twelve years old, but very small for his age. He was only about thirty inches high and weighed about sixty pounds.” Johnny Clem was one of the youngest soldiers for either the Union or Confederate armies, to fight in the Civil War. Johnny would go on to fame in the Civil War, and make the army his career.

It has been common for Johnny Clem to also be known as “Johnny Shiloh.” A story goes that young Clem was at the 1862 Shiloh battle and his drum was broken by an artillery projectile, and then he picked up a gun for the fight. This story was very popular and eventually a poem, a play, and a song were all named “The Drummer Boy of Shiloh.” Clem at Shiloh however, is questionable history.

There were others who claimed to be the actual “The Drummer Boy of Shiloh,” but a study by the National Park Service showed Clem to be the most likely one. Clem’s service indicates he was with the 3rd Ohio, the 22nd Michigan, and the 22nd Wisconsin. The trouble is, is that the 3rd Ohio was not at Shiloh, and the 22nd Michigan, and the 22nd Wisconsin were not organized until after Shiloh. At this time, Johnny Clem was not yet officially a soldier, he was a young boy dressed up as a soldier trying to play the drum. He would not have been reassigned to any units that were at Shiloh. This writer will leave it up to the reader to decide if Johnny Clem is also Johnny Shiloh. We will see that there is no reason to doubt Johnny Clem’s bravery.

At Chickamauga on September 20, 1863 Johnny Clem rode to the front of the battle on an artillery caisson, carrying along his cut-down rifle. As the course of the battle played out, the Union troops had to retreat and during this a Confederate colonel encountered young Clem and demanded his surrender. Johnny Clem halted as if to comply, but then raised his cut-down rifle at the enemy officer and fired, wounding him.

On learning of Johnny’s exploits, General George H. Thomas promoted Johnny to the rank of lance corporal. Newspapers told Johnny Clem’s story and he gained celebrity status, becoming known as “The Drummer Boy of Chickamauga.”

In October, 1863 Johnny Clem was detailed as a train guard in Georgia when Confederate cavalry captured him. Johnny was freed two months later during a prisoner exchange, but the Confederate newspapers used his capture to ridicule the Union with this barb; “what sore straits the Yankees are driven, when they have to send their babies to fight us.”

Johnny Clem was assigned to General Thomas’ staff as a mounted orderly in January, 1864. During the Atlanta Campaign, young Johnny was twice wounded. On September 19, 1864 he was discharged from the army. President Grant gave Johnny Clem an appointment to West Point, but Johnny had spent his youth and times as a soldier. His lack of formal education prevented him from passing the West Point entrance exam.

President Grant came through for Johnny Clem again by making him a second lieutenant of the 24th Infantry, a unit of black soldiers, in 1871. Johnny thus began his second army term. He advanced to the rank of colonel in the Quartermaster Corps. Clem was able to remain on active duty long enough to become the last Civil War veteran still on duty in the Armed Forces.

John Lincoln Clem completed his military career when he retired in 1916. At his retirement, a special act of Congress made him Major General John Clem. He passed away at age 85, and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

A history of the Civil War is incomplete, unless it includes Johnny Clem’s story.

The Importance of the Battle of Gettysburg

Why was the battle of Gettysburg important? The Battle of Gettysburg is one of the most significant events in the American history. It was one of the most influential battles that led to the result of the civil war. The battle happened in Pennsylvania and the Union was declared the winner. There were hundreds of wounded and dead soldiers in the Battle of Gettysburg. It is considered as one of the most bloodied battles in the history of the United States. Many people are interested to know the reason why was the Battle of Gettysburg important.

Why was the Battle of Gettysburg important? It is important since it became one of the turning points in the civil war for the United States. The Potomac soldiers were lead by General Gordon Meade and they were able to defeat the Northern Virginian army whose leader was General Robert Lee.

Why was the Battle of Gettysburg important in terms of political significance? The Union was able to defeat the Confederate group and because of this the Union was able to gain control of the political clout of the confederates. The Union was also able to lead the army of General Lee. The victors in the Battle of Gettysburg got the power to rule all of the United States.

Why was the Battle of Gettysburg important for the United States? It is significant because as President Abraham Lincoln has said that battle changed the meaning of why wars should be undertaken. He explained this statement in his Gettysburg Address. He made this speech at the Gettysburg National Cemetery.

The Gettysburg battle happened in three days. It started in the first of July, 1863 until the third of July. The Union was composed of ninety three thousand and nine hundred twenty one soldiers and the Confederates had almost seventy two thousand soldiers. The Union lost twenty three thousand and fifty five soldiers and the Confederates lost twenty three thousand and two hundred thirty one men. One of the fiercest moments in the battle happened on the third day when twelve thousand soldiers from the Confederate force fought the soldiers of the Union force at the cemetery area. The Union attacked back with much artillery. The Confederates lost so many men and so they had to retreat and give up.

The Rewards of Membership at a Federal Credit Union

Every federal credit union (FCU) offers its members checking, savings, and certificate accounts free of any monthly maintenance fees. They offer the usual money market savings accounts, but members can open a savings account with only $1,000 and will enjoy better rates than regular savings accounts offer.

Custodial savings accounts are a rare financial product among banking institutions, but these financial institutions add this account to their financial product menu. A custodial savings account is typically opened on behalf of children younger than 21 years of age. The account can be opened, though, for a person of any age who would benefit from having a person other than himself or herself administering the account.

Share certificates only available at FCUs pay their members a guaranteed interest rate over a fixed period of time.

All financial service companies have some type of loan program, but few have the variety of loan services FCUs offer their members at rates below those that traditional banking institutions offer. Available loans are

– Vehicle
– Credit card
– Real estate
– Pledge share and personal loans
– Tuition
– Business
– Cemetery

Who is Eligible to Join a Federal Credit Union?

Generally, eligibility for joining is dependent on a geographic region or work affiliation. Also, members of the immediate family or household of a person noted above are eligible to join. A “household” is defined as persons living under the same roof and operating as a single economic unit.

A spouse of a deceased member, as described above, is also eligible for membership, as are employees, volunteers, and retirees of the FCU.

What is the Difference between Traditional Banks and Federal Credit Unions?

Those who qualify for membership will be able to take advantage of all that FCUs offer their members. A credit union is a not-for-profit organization that is established to serve its members rather than to optimize corporate profits.

Similar to banks, credit unions take deposits and make loans. The difference lies in the fact that they are owned by their members and focus on giving them a secure place to save their money and borrow at very reasonable rates. Credit unions return surplus earnings to their members in the form of dividends. Banks do not.

The fees and loan rates at these financial institutions are usually lower, while interest rates earned are higher than those earned at banks.

Since FCUs are owned by their members, they operate democratically. Each member has an equal voice in the operation, regardless of the size of his or her accounts.

The National Credit Union Administration regulates FCUs and each member’s account(s) is insured up to $250,000.

When considering a federal credit union, visit Ohio Catholic Federal Credit Union. Learn more about this institution at

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Atlanta Attractions – Oakland Cemetery

Atlanta is an extraordinary place for historians. It is a city that is rich in both history and culture. If you are a Civil War buff you will find Atlanta particularly wonderful. One of the “must see” places in Atlanta to take in Civil War history is the Oakland Cemetery. Located at 248 Oakland Avenue in Atlanta, the cemetery is home to the final resting place of many civil war soldiers and several famous citizens of Atlanta. It is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. So what will you find at the cemetery?

The cemetery is the final resting place for over 48,000 people. These people include civil war soldiers (confederate and union), 5 civil war generals, governors, mayors, golf great Bobby Jones and the author of Gone With The Wind. It is also home to 2 monuments honoring Civil War vets and is rich in gothic and classic art. See the incredible stained glass, ornate urns and incredible statues. Currently the cemetery is being revived by a 15 million dollar restoration project. The project began in 2003 and is expected to take 5 years to complete. Don’t let that scare you off however because the cemetery is still accessible to the public and is quite popular.

For more information on the Oakland Cemetery you can call the information line at 404-688-2107 or visit the official website at Check it out and I am sure that you will not be disappointed.

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Arlington – From Plantation to Cemetery

Arlington…where my affections and attachments are more strongly placed than any other place in the world. Robert E. Lee

1864. Beautiful Arlington House, the family home of General Robert E. Lee and his family, is in a shambles. The rose gardens have been turned into cemeteries. Soldiers are buried just outside the front door. Brigadier General Irvin McDowell has taken over the home for his headquarters. Yet the home still belongs to the Lee family – but not for long.

With her husband, Robert E. Lee, serving with the Army of Northern Virginia, Mary Anna Custis Lee, after moving from one of the family’s plantations to the other, has taken up residence in the Confederate capitol of Richmond. It is here that she receives the news that because she did not pay the property taxes on Arlington in person, her family’s home will be sold. On January 11, 1864, Arlington was offered for public sale, and was purchased by a tax commissioner for “government use, for war, military, charitable and educational purposes.”

And thus an historical plantation, with ties to George Washington, was taken – illegally, as it would turn out – from the Lee family, who would never step foot inside the home again. The story of Arlington is a bittersweet metaphor for the Civil War itself.

Arlington House was built by George Washington Parke Custis, a step-grandson of George Washington. Custis, an eminent citizen and planter in Alexandria County, Virginia, commissioned George Hadfield, the architect who had worked on the U.S. Capitol building, to design the home, which was named for the Custis family homestead in Eastern Virginia, but was to be a memorial to the memory of George Washington. By 1804, the impressive Greek Revival mansion was complete, and the 1,100 acre plantation became the primary residence for the Custis family.

Custis died in 1857, leaving only one surviving child, Mary Anna Randolph Custis Lee. Mary Anna, who’d married Robert E. Lee in 1831 at Arlington, was to have the use of Arlington for her lifetime, after which it would pass on to her eldest son, George Washington Custis Lee.

Most of Robert E. and Mary Anna Custis Lee’s married life was spent at Arlington, what wasn’t spent traveling between military assignments during Lee’s tenure in the U.S. Army. Although the two owned other plantations, Arlington was closest to both their hearts. When Mary Anna inherited Arlington, the estate was in poor shape; Lee, as the legal executor of the estate, took a leave of absence from the Army that lasted until 1860. By 1859, Lee had made the plantation profitable again.

“War is inevitable, and there is no telling when it will burst around you . . . You have to move and make arrangements to go to some point of safety which you must select. The Mount Vernon plate and pictures ought to be secured. Keep quiet while you remain, and in your preparations . . . May God keep and preserve you and have mercy on all our people.” Robert E. Lee, to Mary Anna Custis Lee, 1861

When the possibility of civil war seemed imminent in 1861, President Abraham Lincoln offered U.S. Army Colonel Robert E. Lee, a 35-year veteran, command of the U.S. Army. Lee, who felt he could not go against Virginia if the state chose to secede, declined. In doing so, he sealed the fate of Arlington.

Arlington’s close proximity to Washington D.C. Put the house in a peculiar – and treacherous – position, one that Lee knew all too well. After leaving Arlington to join the Army of Northern Virginia, Lee beseeched his wife, Mary Anna, to leave as well. Mary Anna never considered the move to be permanent; however, she did arrange to send some of the family’s Arlington heirlooms to safety.

Almost as soon as the Lees vacated Arlington, Federal troops moved in, using the home as a headquarters, freeing the few slaves who still remained, and looting the house for any valuables that remained, many of which had already been removed to the U.S. Patent Office, ostensibly for safekeeping.

Many of those who occupied Arlington felt that the destruction of the property was Lee’s due, as a traitor to the Army he’d faithfully served in for most of his adult life. None, however, was as vengeful as Quartermaster General Montgomery C. Meigs. Meigs, a Georgia native who’d served under Lee in the Army, and who despised Southerners who took up arms against the Union, ordered that the grounds of Arlington be used for a cemetery. Despite the fact that the home still belonged to the Lees, Meigs ordered that graves be placed at the front door of the mansion, in order to prevent the Lees from ever returning to their home. When, Meigs’ own son was killed in the war, Meigs saw to it that he, too, was buried at Arlington.

“It is better to make up our minds to a general loss. They cannot take away the remembrance of the spot, and the memories of those that to us rendered it sacred. That will remain to us as long as life will last, and that we can preserve.” Robert E. Lee, to Mary Anna Custis Lee, regarding Arlington.

By the war’s end, with Arlington seized, it was clear that the Lees would never return to their home. The plantation was now a national military cemetery, the home used for offices. Robert E. Lee never challenged the seizure of the plantation; however, in 1870, after his Lee’s death, George Washington Custis Lee, sued for compensation for the home, which was rightfully his according to his grandfather’s will. A Supreme Court decision in 1882 ruled in favor of Custis Lee, and he was awarded a $150,000 judgment, half of what he’d sought.

Although Arlington was taken from the Lee family, the home today stands as a memorial to Lee, and has been restored as a museum.

Are you a fan of the American Civil War?

Do you love reading about its history?

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Taking A Look At Cemetery Monuments

A monument is a monolith erected generally flat and bearing inscriptions, symbols, engravings and sculptures of a commemorative nature. Monuments often appear in Chinese architectures and landscapes. These are usually blocks of imposing size, the base of which is shaped like a turtle symbolizing Heaven and Earth. In addition to entwined Chinese dragons (a male and a female, symbolizing the creative union of yin and yang). There are also engraved texts.

Grave monuments at the entrance of tombs bear the name and a brief biography of the deceased. Religious stelae in temples are often covered in carved motifs to the point that the text does not appear. Engraved texts could be replicated before the invention of books to provide models of calligraphy. Unusual engraving appears negative, the hollows have white background.

Engraving art has many purposes within a culture. It can be part of funeral rites, which symbolize the dead (celebrating their lives). This can occur both as part of ancestor worship or in furtherance of political aims for a ruling dynasty. Engraving art has also often served as a reminder of man’s mortality and as a way to appease the spirits of the dead so that they would not harm the living.

Artistic objects on graves have been in existence for thousands of years and appear in almost all human cultures. Many best known remnants from older cultures are tombs or associated grave art, such as the Egyptian pyramids, the Chinese Terracotta Army and the Indian Taj Mahal. Dedicated tomb art has usually been the preserve of rich folks and powerful social elites.

An important aspect as regards the development of art traditions are split between what can be seen by visitors and what is meant to be forever buried with the dead after the burial ritual is completed. The Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamen’s golden treasure for example, was intended to never be seen after his tomb was sealed, while the pyramids of other pharaohs were intended to show the dead rulers’ posterity.

The same separation occurs in the East Asian graves. In other cultures, almost every headstone art was intended to be seen by the public or those entrusted to care for the grave, except for a limited number of grave ornaments. Mausoleums were intended to be visited by the living, and had the most magnificent types of grave monument art in ancient cultures around the Mediterranean, and later became common in the Islamic world.

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