Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Brooksville, Kentucky

The Perfect Family:  Pictures pinned to headstones or propped on the ground are not uncommon on cemetery landscapes.  Here, presumably, the not-so-recently departed gets to see her grandkids, none of whom were born when she died just short of her 50th birthday.  Bracken Memorial Cemetery.  [2013]

Together Forever

Monday, July 29, 2013

Normalville, Pennsylvania

The Perfect Family:  Hints of family strife are seldom seen on cemetery landscapes.  In death, the family reverts to textbook normalcy.  In fact, the theme of family love transcends the religious-secular divide on memorial markers:  evidence that we see our place in society (and even the eternal society) as defined by family relationships.  Normalville Cemetery.  [2013]

Our Treasures

Friday, July 26, 2013

Grand Forks, North Dakota

Markers of the Baha'i Diaspora:   According to Baha'is, Bahá’u’lláh was the last in a long line of prophets sent by God.  Other prophets came before him:  Abraham, Krishna, Moses, Zoroaster, Buddha, Christ, Muhammad.  And, all of them are accepted and respected by Baha'is.  The long quote on this grave stone reveals the high priority which the religion puts on equality and justice for all.  Memorial Park Cemetery.  [2012]

" . . . Verily justice is my gift to thee and the sign of my loving-kindness.  See it then before thine eyes."


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Pelham, Ontario

Markers of the Baha'i Diaspora:  The graves of Baha'is are usually easy to identify: many are marked with the religion's nonagram (9 = perfection and unity) and many carry a quote from their founder, Bahá'u'lláh. The name Yazdi tells you that this man's family is from Yazd in Iran. It was one of the main centers of the Baha'i faith. Several hundred thousand Bahai'is continue to live in Iran despite persecution. Pleasantview Memorial Gardens. [2013]

"In the garden of thy heart plant naught but the rose of love"  Bahá'u'lláh

Always In Our Hearts

Monday, July 22, 2013

Honolulu, Hawaii

Markers of the Baha'i Diaspora:  The Baha'i faith originated in Iran, but adherents were so severely persecuted there that few are left. Instead, they live all over the globe, including here in Honolulu. Many Baha'is, though, are converts, so don't depend on Iranian names to tip you off.  The nine-pointed star, on the other hand, is a tip-off. It's been the most popular insignia of the Baha'i faith. Oahu Cemetery. [2011]

Friday, July 19, 2013

Falmouth, Virginia

Music of the Angels ~ Pianos and Organs:  He was the best organist in the greater Fredericksburg area of Virginia, and it is behind the organ that he will always be remembered.  One of his appointments was at the nearby Falmouth Baptist Church whose steeple now overlooks his grave.  Union Church Cemetery.  [2013]

He praised God with his music


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Texarkana, Texas

Music of the Angels ~ Pianos and Organs:  Not sure you'll see the Deputy Sheriff's badge in heaven, but am sure you'll hear the chords of a grand piano. Hillcrest Memorial Park. [2012]

Monday, July 15, 2013

Adairsville, Georgia

Music of the Angels ~ Pianos and Organs:  Music must have been at the heart of this household, and at least some of that music was sacred.  The words are from the hymn 'Farther Along,' so the duo must have been vocalists as well.  The piano?  Upright, Chippendale style.  Eastville Cemetery.  [2013]

Farther along we'll know all about it,
Farther along we'll understand why,
Cheer up my brother, live in the sunshine
We'll understand it all by and by.

It will be worth it all, child

Friday, July 12, 2013

Batesville, Indiana

Music of the Angels ~ Guitars:  Most guitars are not made of granite, but this one is. It must last forever. The angels say it sounds better in heaven than it did on earth. In the post-human future, maybe we'll all be treated to a concert. St. John's United Church of Christ Cemetery. [2013]

2 Ti. 4:7

We'll keep you close as always
It won't even seem you've gone
Cause our hearts in big and small ways
Will keep the love that keeps us strong

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Greeneville, Tennessee

Music of the Angels ~ Guitars:  Ready for a concert?  We've got the instrument (guitar), the voice (angel), and the venue (church).  And, the audience is just arriving.  Two methods are used to bring that very secular looking guitar into the realm of the sacred.  First, note the cross on the headstock.  Second, read the Bible passage at the bottom of the tableau noir.  Graceland Memorial Gardens.  [2009]

The Lord will save me, and we will sing with stringed instruments all the days of our lives
in the temple of the Lord.  Isaiah 38: 19-21

Monday, July 8, 2013

Maiden Rock, Wisconsin

Music of the Angels ~ Guitars:  If you could pick just one of your possessions to immortalize on your headstone, what would it be?  For many people, its a musical instrument, and the guitar seems to be the most popular of all.  Guitar chords are probably not what Fanny Crosby had in mind when she wrote Music of the Angels more than a century ago, but it's the sound of choice for mortal ears today.  Ono United Methodist Church Cemetery.  [2012]


Friday, July 5, 2013

Beaufort, South Carolina

Emblems of Belief:  Indigenous religions are alive and well across the continent, and the Native American Church of North America is the most widespread of all.  You recognize the tee-pee on their insignia.  Do you recognize what's on top?  A collection of psychoactive peyote buttons, the focus of the church's chief sacrament.  Beaufort National Cemetery.  [2008]

Native American Church of North America
USVA Emblem No. 12
Source: USVA/Wikipedia

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Beaufort, South Carolina

Emblems of Belief:  A wheel with eight spokes symbolizes Buddhism's Noble Eightfold Path, a set of principles that uphold the stability and harmony of the universe.  It's called the Wheel of Dharma or the Wheel of Life.  Over a million Americans are Buddhists.  Beaufort National Cemetery.  [2008]

Wheel of Dharma
USVA Emblem No. 2
Source: USVA/Wikipedia

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Beaufort, South Carolina

Emblems of Belief:  The 'crescent and star' has deep roots in Near Eastern culture, but recent roots as a symbol of Islam. When you see the emblem on a flag or minaret, the crescent is almost never tilted downward.  As a part of the cemetery landscape, however, the waning moon finds it fitting to bow in honor of the dead.  Beaufort National Cemetery.  [2008]

Crescent and Star
USVA Emblem No. 17
Source: USVA/Wikipedia

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Beaufort, South Carolina

Emblems of Belief:  The 6-pointed Star of David is one of the symbols that may be chosen by Jewish veterans for thier headstones.  Only a few national cemeteries have consecrated Jewish sections, so the Magen David is typically seen strewn among crosses.  Beaufort National Cemetery.  [2008]

Star of David
USVA Eblem No. 3
Source: USVA/Wikipedia

Monday, July 1, 2013

Beaufort, South Carolina

Emblems of Belief:  The Department of Veterans Affairs limits what may be shown on national cemetery headstones.  Those who choose to have an emblem of belief must select from an official list.  Standardization is the military way.  The Latin Cross on this memorial marks the grave of a Christian soldier who served in Vietnam.  Beaufort National Cemetery.  [2008]

Christian Cross
USVA Emblem No. 1
Source:  USVA/Wikipedia