Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Restoring Memories

Yes, Scott and I did spend Veterans' Day at the St. Nicholas cemetery at Patuxent River Naval Air Station. I arrived on site a little before 9:30 AM. Scott, having arrived earlier, probed three areas for buried markers. We recovered seven, as well as several foot stones, and two of the markers were granite pedestals supporting cast steel crosses about 3.5 ft high, with names and dates (mid-19th century) in low relief.

At day's end, I looked around and marvelled at what we have accomplished. When we first started five or six years ago, St. Nicholas cemetery was a well-manicured lawn traversed by a pleasant, if deteriorated asphalt path. It was park-like and there was nothing to suggest that it had ever been a place of interment. At this point we have raised 90 markers, more than one-third of the stone markers (not including foot stones) known to have existed. Scott has repaired many of the marble markers. The place looks like a cemetery.

I'm not especially fond of cemeteries. It's not that I find them eerie or in any way disturbing. I just do not find them that interesting. Yet...these are the places at which we remember those who came before, those who built that which we now build upon. After we moved one of the markers into place...a marker that has been buried for 65 years...I said, "Welcome back, Ann." She is still dead...Scott and I don't work those kinds of miracles...but her marker now looks again across a little bit of Southern Maryland. Once again she is remembered, and that, to a great extant, is what history is about.


1 comment:

Scott said...

My hat goes off to you Jim. For a man that doesn't especially care for cemeteries, you have donated a vast amount of time to the project and I speak for many...your dedication is appreciated. We have a lot to be proud of with this project and I couldn't have done it without you. Let's get it finished!