There are a few sacred resting places in the United States known as National Cemeteries. Throughout the country, there are 147 cemeteries in 39 states which honor those who have sacrificed their lives in the name of liberty. In the summer of 1862, Congress passed legislation for the government to purchase grounds for the final resting place of these heroes. For their service to our country, every service person who is released from service with an honorable discharge, and their families are eligible for burial in these cemeteries.
The national cemetery located in Annapolis, Maryland is one of the first national cemeteries in 1862. Established by Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, the cemetery stands on 4 acres of land near the waterfront. During the Civil War, Annapolis was used as a Union recruit training center and had a parole camp where exchange prisoners were held until they could be returned to their original units.
Many of the 3,000 souls interred in the Annapolis National Cemetery succumbed to illness and injury during that time. (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annapolis_National_Cemetery)
When walking the rows of grave markers, the number of unknown solders resting in this hallowed ground created a stir of emotion. These unknown men (or women) will never be known nor what caused them to pass on. Patriotic as they were, they were willing to put their lives on the line for something they believed in.
The neatly arranged rows created a solemn, melancholy feel to my visit. The power and strength of their fighting spirit emanated from the warm earth. It’s hard to describe the feeling that I experienced while walking alone along these bright white marbled markers.
There was such a sense of spirituality, and desire to truly honor these fallen souls that caused me to walk reverently past one marker after another. It’s rare for me to walk a part of the earth that creates such a sense of emotion within me. I’ll never forget these unknown solders and the sacrifices that they made for our country.