Days of ceremony happen on occasion. Flags fly high. Marching bands and parades fill the avenues. Uniformed dignitaries stroll to the stage to deliver a speech. Most of the hours, days and years are quiet. Good times to hold conversations with sleeping heroes.
Ten acres were set aside by soldiers in 1826 for burial ground. Elizabeth Ann Lash, infant daughter of an officer is the first recorded burial.
In March 1863, the U.S. Army established the Jefferson Barracks Post Cemetery. The cemetery covers 310 acres. The area sits on bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River.
In 1866, the Secretary of War designated the post cemetery as a national cemetery. The Civil War brought remains of many fallen to rest. In 1922 WW I Veterans required a medical center. WW II required land from the military post for cemetery space. Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery became a central location for group interments. Sleeping Heroes, every kind, color and their limitless stories are here.
Every Row, from every angle – always straight.
spaces for gatherings
There are several shelters placed around the cemetery called “committal shelters.” There are heroes, along with their spouses, from many different belief systems. I like the regard for feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of others I find here. Many of these heroes did not know this respect and inclusiveness in their waking life.
Visiting Columbaria at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery
I passed the word “Columbarium” a few times. I admit I did not know understand until reaching a hill top. It was such a lovely place, I decided to stroll around.
This part of the cemetery has newer dates. There are nice places to rest and reflect.
It feels good to listen to the breeze all around, and feel a sense of hope.
Quiet and Comfort is built right in. It’s as if we are welcome to sit a while.
Conversations with Sleeping Heroes
(some else has come to spend time)
Monuments honor different parts of the story. There is a monument to Civil war dead, Confederate dead, WW II, Korean War, Vietnam and the Gulf War.
There are memorials for War Unknowns.
One of the older monuments is dedicated to 175 soldiers of the 56th U.S. Colored Infantry.
There is a monument by artist John K. Daniels to honor the 164 Minnesotan officers and soldiers buried at this national cemetery.
U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Michael Blassie was shot down over South Vietnam. His remains were sent to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. After a DNA test, his parents asked to bring him home to Jefferson Barracks.
The stories seem to continue forever.