30 Days of Writing: Hanging out in the cemetery (16/30)
This post is written in conjunction with the 30 Days of Writing, a blog challenge devised by Nicky and Mike at “We Work For Cheese.” I’ll be participating throughout the month of June. If interested, you can see my post with the details of the challenge.
Please note that some of these posts will be serious, some will be normal, and some will be an attempt at humor. This one is a little of everything!
Many look at cemeteries as a sad place. One where many people who have passed through life are buried.
Did you know, back when, cemeteries were places of celebration? People would picnic in cemeteries and town events would be held there. And it’s how it should be. When you go to a cemetery, you can celebrate those who have already left us. Sure, it can be sad. But it can also be a good place — one where you remember the good times.
But man cemeteries seemed to be long forgotten. The ones that aren’t active anymore and have the old and amazing tombstones. Hundreds of years have passed for some of these cemeteries and, unless they were famous, there are many people buried throughout the world who likely have nobody who visits their graves anymore.
I have a lot of hobbies in which I participate. One of them is based around cemeteries, the other sometimes involves cemeteries.
The first is with the website Find A Grave.
Many people use this site to help with research about family or whatever else. The site has a large database of cemeteries and photos. What I do, is when local cemeteries get requests for photos of graves, I like to try and get out and go get them for the people seeking the photos. It’s actually been a little while since I’ve done it as my other hobbies have distracted from this one.
But, I love this one because when you’re searching for the headstones, you can learn about things. You can see the stones and different aspects of the burial grounds.
My other hobby in which cemeteries sometimes appear is geocaching.
For those who don’t know, geocaching is a technology-based treasure hunt, using a GPS.
Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.
Geocachers will hide caches all over. In fact, there are nearly 1,800,000 active caches placed around the world. And there are more than 5 million geocachers playing the game.
But, back to cemeteries.
Cachers like to find old cemeteries and hide caches near them. Often, geocachers will do research about these long-forgotten cemeteries and take you there for a certain reason. Maybe because there’s people buried there who fought in the Revolutionary War. Or a famous athlete is buried there. Or someone else. I’ve learned a lot in cemeteries through geocaching and for that, I’m thankful.
Finally, cemeteries can be some of the most powerful places to visit.
Take for example Arlington National Cemetery.
I don’t know how many of you have visited there, but during a trip to visit friends in Washington D.C. last year, I spent a combined six or so hours in Arlington National spaced out over two days. From the changing of the guard to staring at all the headstones, it was one of the moving things I’ve ever seen. To know how many of these people have given their life for the United States is something that, for those of us who are Americans, should be thankful for.
Cemeteries, though places where people are buried when life on Earth ends, are not places to be afraid of, rather places to remember and honor those who have gone.
Take a walk through a local old cemetery and look at the headstones. Even if it’s people you might not know, be related to or know anything about, you can still pay respects or at least look around and know that you might be one of the only people to see these names over a given time.
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