Saturday, August 25, 2007

Ellsworth Goes to Fredericksburg, Part IV


This is the final entry of my field trip. After The Writer and I toured the Fredericksburg battlefield, we walked over to the Fredericksburg National Cemetery. More than 15,000 soldiers are buried here, most of them from the Union side, and about 80 percent are unknown.
I am sitting on a monument at the bottom of the steep hill. Stacked cannonballs decorate the corners of the monument. The graves climb the hill in terraced rows. Every Memorial Day, Boy Scouts put luminarias--paper bags filled with sand and candles--on each grave. After dark, the candles are lit, all 15,000 of them. It's a moving sight to see thousands of lights, each marking the grave of someone who died for his country.

Sniff.

It's okay to get a little teary-eyed, Winchester. When people visit battlefields and memorials, they often become thoughtful about the Civil War. End of field trip. Thanks for coming along!

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