Barrancas National Cemetery encompasses over 94 acres within the U.S. Naval Air Station at Pensacola, Florida. At the end of 2006, more than 33,000 veterans and spouses had been laid to rest within the grounds of the cemetery.
I hope on this Memorial Day my blog visitors pause to remember all the heroic men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Let us pause "to put the 'memorial' back into Memorial Day."
"...gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with choicest flowers of springtime....let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us as sacred charges upon the Nation's gratitude,--the soldier's and sailor's widow and orphan."
--General John Logan, General Order No. 11, 5 May 1868
"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 are spread,
And Glory guards, with solemn round,
The bivouac of the dead...
"For many a mother's breath has swept
O'er Angostura's plain
--And long the pitying sky has wept
Above its moldered slain.
The raven's scream, or eagle's flight,
Or shepherd's pensive lay,
Alone awakes each sullen height
That frowned o'er that dread fray.
"Sons of the Dark and Bloody Ground
Ye must not slumber there,
Where stranger steps and tongues resound
Along the heedless air.
Your own proud land's heroic soil
Shall be your fitter grave;
She claims from war his richest spoil
--The ashes of her brave...
"Rest on embalmed and sainted dead!
Dear as the blood ye gave;
No impious footstep shall here tread
The herbage of your grave;
Nor shall your glory be forgot
While fame her records keeps,
Or Honor points the hallowed spot
Where Valor proudly sleeps.
"Yon marble minstrel's voiceless stone
In deathless song shall tell,
When many a vanquished ago has flown,
The story how ye fell;
Nor wreck, nor change, nor winter's blight,
Nor Time's remorseless doom,
Shall dim one ray of glory's light
That gilds your deathless tomb."
~~ Theodore O'Hara, "Bivouac of the Dead"