Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cemetery Walk

With the USS Spruance dominating Key West these days it's hard not to spare a thought for the Maine destroyed by explosion more than a century ago in Havana harbor.

Key West was the location of the investigation into the explosion, wounded sailors were treated here and the dead were buried as shown above. They never did figure out for sure why the Maine blew up in 1898 but the best guess is the coal got wet producing explosive gases in the bunkers, and the resultant bang became the rallying cry of the Spanish American War.

Key West's cemetery is an astonishing repository for history in this town, yet many visitors, terrified of Death and unable to see past the ghoulish stereotypes ignore the cemetery's treasures.

I always find pleasure in wandering here with no greater goal than to see some beauty and to reflect for a moment on the transient nature of life. It does me good.

The other thing I like about the cemetery is how much this place means to survivors. In Italy where I grew up the cemetery was a place of pilgrimage on All Souls Day, similar to the famous Mexican holiday if less lurid. In Key West it seems every day is All Souls Day for some of the graves.

Take the time to read this headstone and understand a little of what I mean about history filling the graveyard.

These three tombs gave me pause.

Roger Ek Senior, born in 1926 and fought in World War Two. Junior meanwhile was born in 1947 and served in Vietnam. He preceded his father in death, and there through it all was the "loving wife and mother," now all laid out side by side.

There are lots of stories here.

And not just well known ones.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Dee said...

KW cemetery is lovely. Many of my husband's family (Casado's) are there.

Conchscooter said...

I keep going back and never see enough.