Then we should never forget the Maine, blown up in mysterious circumstances in Havana, creating a Tonkin-like excuse for the invasion of Cuba and the annexation of the Philippines and Puerto Rico in 1898. WMD's are nothing new, when it comes to invasions. This is simply a monument to the American and British sailors who died that day:
And of course there is the kid's favorite toy, which always pops up in illustrations of the Key West cemetery, strapped down to deter forcible removal by hurricane or vandals:I came across one vault in the Catholic section set up for a kaffee klatsch, supporting my theory that at least some family members like to hang with their deceased:I was just an interloper in the cemetery, related to no one, vicariously wandering, but I was not entirely alone in my musings:The Key West cemetery is wide open to anyone who feels like checking it out but it does have some rules, as confusing as any I have read. Does one park a moped inside the cemetery and is running at more than five miles per hour outlawed?They banned mopeds and motorcycles after mourners got fed up with people racing through the cemetery using it as a short cut between Frances and Margaret Streets. The picture at the top of my blog I snapped the day before the city commission enacted the ban. Cyclists though still get to ride through: Motorcycles bad, cars good, go figure. Cars can't use the cemetery as a short cut because the Frances Street gate is too narrow, even for a Smart Car I'm pretty sure. That would be cool,"No Mopeds, Motorcycles or Smart Cars." Mitsubishi convertibles are OK, Bonnevilles aren't? Humph.In any event this isn't always a quiet spot for contemplation of one's mortality. It is, as I have pointed out, in the middle of town and that means the sounds of the living carry across it all. Key West is a noisy place to live; it has to be as there is no room at all to swing a sander or a drill without impacting a neighbor. And some bright spark lined up the runway at the airport so aircraft fly directly over Old Town when they come back to Earth:Cultural segregation is alive and well in the land of the Dead where people are planted according to their typecasting :It reminds me a bit of Bosnia Herzegovina where one could identify the sympathies of the villagers by the shape of their tombstones. As they had recently had a great deal of unpleasantness there, they had an abundance of tombstones to identify. My plan is cremation and scattering at sea, entirely ecumenical and anonymous. Though I enjoy cemeteries I do find their occupants' pursuit of graven immortality a little too hopeful. There was one headstone which carried the comment to know him was to love him, if that could have been said of me I might cheerfully submit to interment with a tombstone. However I think I am a little too astringent for such cloying sentiments, nevertheless I do enjoy the simple beauty of the cemetery with its inevitable decay and its flowered statements of loss and grief and remembrance:And as we celebrate Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness this Independence Day Weekend, I shall spare a thought for those who are today what we will be tomorrow.