Cemeteries “Where Stories Live”

The Past is Behind Learn From It.•  The Future is Ahead, Prepare For It. •  The Present is Here, Live In It

What comes to your mind when you drive by a cemetery?  Do you think it’s a morbid place full of sadness?

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Matthew Robison’s Monument, Salt Lake City Cemetery

Maybe you think it’s a place that’s obsolete because “We don’t bury, we cremate.”  These kinds of thoughts are most likely formed not from actual experiences, but from lack of experience.

Cemeteries serve as a visual reminder of lives lived—a living history where stories live. Each monument in the cemetery represents a person who was created in God’s image for His timeline in history.    Boy Kissed to Death

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Boy Kissed to Death Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, N.Y.

Not one person buried in a cemetery was a mistake; each one lived a life, was loved and had their own unique story. One of the best examples of how a monument tells a story is located in Salt Lake City Cemetery.  It’s the monument for Matthew Robison designed by his parents, Ernest and Anneke Robison.   It visually embodies hope and deep love at the same time.   Matthew Robison’s Monument

Marking your loved one’s burial spot is important.  It doesn’t matter if the body is in a casket or has been cremated and is in an urn. What matters most is that your loved one has a tangible place marking their life because it mattered. Angeline Moore

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Located in Chimney Rock Cemetery Oneida, Tennessee,

Grave markers, Tombstones, Headstones, or Monuments tend to mean the same thing in our culture, they tell part of a person’s story.  Every one of us has been created for significance, to experience deep and meaningful relationships, and to live a life filled with purpose.  Having the desire to mark the spot where a loved one lies is a natural response to the love we have for them.

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Located in Logan City Cemetery, Logan, Utah (USA).

We not only have the desire to mark the spot where our loved ones lie, but also our beloved animals who were part of our story and greatly loved. 7th Cavalry Horse Cemetery Little Big Horn

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Little Big Horn, Montana

Marking graves can be traced back thousands of years and if you travel to places in the Middle East, Egypt, or Washington D.C. you can see some of the most famous monuments on our planet.

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Egyptian Pyramids – Cairo Egypt

Arlington National Cemetery uses the tagline “Honor • Remember • Explore” (Arlington National Cemetery) Arlington’s Leadership Team’s vision is for Arlington National Cemetery to be “America’s premier military cemetery – A national shrine – A living history of freedom – Where dignity and honor rest in solemn repose.

This historic cemetery bears witness to our American heritage and the military service and sacrifice of men and women in uniform throughout our history.” While it’s good to travel and visit historically meaningful sites, the truth is every cemetery is a virtual witness to our heritage holding the stories of our past.  Because each life matters to God, not one person buried anywhere in the world holds more importance than the other.  There are lives that have lived more interesting stories, but each life mattered to God.

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Arlington National Cemetery, Washington D.C.

An example of bearing witness to our American heritage is Captain Samuel Whittemore’s grave marker located at the Old Burial Ground, Arlington, Massachusetts (Arlington Historical Society)  His famous memorial stone is located in Arlington MA near the location where the events took place. (National War Memorial Registry)  They preserve our history and help to tell his quite astonishing story, the kind of story movies are made of.

Samuel Whittemore was born in England in 1695, just seventy-five years after the Pilgrims landed in 1620. Samuel came to the Colonies in the 1740’s as a    member of His Majesty’s Royal Regiment of Dragoons.  The Royal Dragoons were an elite cavalry known and feared for their brutality, and Samuel Whittemore came to the Colonies to fight for British rule.  He fought in three wars including the Siege of Louisburg during the French and Indian War, allegedly gaining the possession of an ornate longsword won in the battle which he claimed he took from the hands of a Frenchman who “died suddenly.”

After fighting in three wars, Samuel decided to make his home in the Colonies, purchased property in Menotomy (Arlington, MA) and became a farmer.  Samuel became very involved in the village government serving as a committeeman, treasurer, assessor, and selectman now verbally fighting as a Patriot against Brittan.  There is a saying “The Patriot’s Blood is the Seed of Freedom” which unfortunately is as true today as it was in 1775.  Captain Samuel Whittemore would once again become a warrior, but this time he would be fighting for his farmland and freedom from English rule.

On April 19, 1775, the day that would begin the Revolutionary War (The Battles of Lexington and Concord), seventy-eight-year-old Captain Samuel Whittemore woke to the sound of British troops marching toward Concord.  He instructed his wife, Esther to pack belongings in preparation for moving to the safety of their son’s home until the fighting was over.  Esther assumed he was speaking of both of them and was shocked when she found him oiling his musket and pistols and sharpening his sword.  Whittemore told his wife he was “Going up in town.’’ He wanted to be there when the British returned.

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He walked up what is now Massachusetts Avenue and took position behind a wall across the street from a church. From there, he fired on the British soldiers.    Accounts vary as to how many of them he killed: at least one, but possibly as many as three. British soldiers discovered Whittemore’s hiding place but he stood his ground instead of running.  British soldiers shot away part of his face, bayoneted him at least six times, and clubbed his head with the butts of their muskets before leaving Samuel for dead.

A tavern near the battle was repurposed into a hospital and a doctor treated   Samuel’s wounds. There was not any hope that Samuel would live, but God’s plan was for Samuel to live to see many more days and years.  Allegedly Captain Whittemore was asked if he regretted his actions, to which he replied “No! I should do just so again!”   Samuel Whittemore lived for another eighteen years and was able to see his country gain independence from Great Britain before he took his last breath on February 2, 1793, at the age of ninety-six.

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