Sunday, January 16, 2011

Richmond (2nd day)

Today we visited two of our most highly anticipated sites of the trip: The Hollywood Cemetery and Monument Avenue. I've visited Arglington National Cemetery in Washington D. C. and I was still very overwhelmed by the size of the Hollywood Cemetery here in Richmond.

There are thousands of people buried here with two of the most important being Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederate States of America and John Tyler, the tenth president of the United States. These gravesites were extravagant and the center pieces of the plot in which they were located. It is easy to mention these two men, but it is important to also remember the thousands of soldiers that lost their lives in the Civil War. There are sections that are memorials for those that lost their lives in the Battle of Gettysburg as well as sections where soldiers were actually buried after the war. Located near the entrance to the cemetery is a 90-foot pyramid erected in 1869 in memoriam of the soldiers that lost their lives. This cemetery is named the "Hollywood Cemetery" because of the holly trees that cover the grounds. This cemetery includes over 25 Confederate generals include Gen. George Picket and J.E.B. Stuart. This is more than any other cemetery in the world.

We noticed that many families have their own personal mausoleums where several members are buried in one building. This is just one more example of the way southerners show their social hierarchy even in death.

Monument Avenue also proved to be interesting because of the celebration taking place during the weekend of Lee-Jackson Day. At the monument of Robert E. Lee there were 5 men that were standing guard dressed in Confederate uniforms and they have been doing this for over 25 years. Only about 3 blocks away was the monument of Stonewall Jackson which was a good bit smaller than Robert E. Lee's. Other monuments on Monument Avenue include Jefferson Davis, J. E. B. Stuart, Arthur Ashe (a famous tennis player and Richmond native), Matthew Fontaine Maury (oceanographer) and others.

Monument Avenue and Hollywood Cemetery are prime examples of how The South glorifies fallen heroes of the Confederacy even though we lost the war. These two sites make it seem that, even though we lost, these men will always be held in high standards because of their leadership during the war.

Join us tomorrow in Appomattox Court House at the McLean house where Lee and Grant agreed on terms of the Confederacy surrendering.

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