Monday, May 28, 2012

US Memorial Day

I spent part of the last week reading "On Hallowed Ground: The History of Arlington National Cemetary" by Robert M Poole.  The first hundred pages of this 270 page book are about the history of the Custis Lee Farm and how that land transformed from a working farm to a military encampment to an expedient burial ground for the dead from the Civil War.  The deliberate placing of the cemetery on the grounds of the home of Confederate General Robert E Lee and the post Civil War legal battle over title to the land is covered in some detail.  It reveals the depth of resentment for those who chose to rebel against their home country.

More than that history though, is the way Arlington National Cemetery symbolizes how America chooses to honor those who serve and those who die in service to their country.  In their own different ways The Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan  have all transformed Arlington National Cemetery.

For anyone who truly wants to understand the meaning of Memorial Day in the United States, this book is highly recommended. 

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