Follow Me

Monday, May 27, 2013


Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day, has been celebrated in this country for over 140 years.  The practice of decorating the graves of those who died while serving our country began after the American Civil War, and first commemorated those individuals who died during the war.  By the twentieth century though Memorial Day came to honor and remember all Americans who had died in military service.

Flowers remembering those who have died while serving our country.

In addition to honoring those who died in military service, in the small town in Iowa where I grew up, Memorial Day was also an opportunity to remember all of our loved ones who had died, and flowers, wreaths and other decorations were placed on most graves in our local cemetery.  Over the years I’ve spent many hours wandering through cemeteries, absorbing the rich stories and history they share with us.

The Garden Of Love.

Just a few blocks away from me, here in Minneapolis, is Lakewood Cemetery.  Founded in 1871, it was designed after the spacious, rural cemeteries of nineteenth century France, and is by far one the most beautiful cemeteries I’ve seen - in fact it is known as one of the most beautiful cemeteries in our country.  

Flags lining the road to the Memorial Chapel.

The Memorial Chapel designed after the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey.

One of the notable structures in Lakewood is its Byzantine-styled Memorial Chapel which was designed after the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey, and has been placed on the National Registry of Historic Places.  In addition to the chapel, there are commemorative gardens, mausoleums, and monuments to founding Minnesota and Minneapolis families as well as local and national politicians.

The stairs leading to the Memorial Community Mausoleum and Columbarium.

The Community Mausoleum and its Reflection Pool.

A walk through Lakewood is indeed a walk through history, and offers an educational experience second to none.  On this day when we honor those men and women who died in military service to our country, and remember our own loved ones who have passed away, I encourage you to visit your local cemetery, and to experience the rich history that surrounds you.

Here are the graves of two beloved Minnesota politicians buried in Lakewood.

U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone and his wife Sheila, who were killed in a tragic plane crash in 2002 while he was still in office.

U.S. Vice-President Hubert H. Humphrey.

Just a few of the interesting monuments in Lakewood.

An interesting take on the "Stars and stirpes."

This infant's marker is dwarfed by the forest of monuments surrounding it.

This lovely lady is entirely encased in glass between the pillars of this monument.

Flour milling was a huge part of Minneapolis' story, and this obelisk erected at Lakewood in 1885 commemorates the 18 men killed in the infamous Washburn "A" Mill explosion in 1878.  The explosion, which rocked the city like an earthquake, engulfing six mills in flames, remains to this day as one of the worst disasters in Minneapolis' history.

The Flour Mill Explosion Memorial.

No comments:

Post a Comment