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Monday, 26 May 2014


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I usually don't comment, but on this topic I feel I must.

First, I feel obligated to let you know I'm a veteran...a disabled veteran. I take exception to you identifying Arlington National Cemetery as our "most hallowed ground."

There are American war dead buried in cemeteries in France that are just as "hallowed" as there are in Arlington...just not as well known. There are war dead buried in Punchbowl in Oahu...just as "hallowed" as in Arlington. In fact there are over 130,000 American war dead buried overseas.

My point is that there's no "most hallowed" ground. There is just "hallowed ground".

Washington DC is across the river from Arlington...it's proximity give it no special significance.

I lost many fellow Marines in Beirut...a few whom I personally served with. Wherever they are interred is hallowed. They sacrificed for us...don't diminish them by saying they are lesser than those buried in Arlington.

[Hi Chuck, I certainly take your point, but you would need to take it up with Arlington National Cemetery, which says on its official website, "Welcome to Arlington National Cemetery, our nation's most hallowed ground." I didn't intend to diminish anyone. --Mike]

Good post today Mike.

My family has long Maryland roots, some Pennsylvania, and some Virginia. In those days the different parts of what came to be my family in the 20th century were sharply divided by the war, divisions that continued well into the 20th century. I have ancestors on both sides.

I choose the North, and I don't think Miegs action was spiteful, but instead appropriate.

Ironically, Lee (and Washington) May have been pleased by the ultimate result, which is the preservation of the property from the hands of developers. One can still sit on the back porch of the Curtis-Lee house and look out on all of D.C. It would likely otherwise be the site of a shopping center today.

I beg to dissent: Arlington was built in the early 1800s by Martha Washington's natural grandson and the stepson of George Washington, George Washington Parke Custis That's hardly true. It was built by slaves: http://www.nps.gov/arho/historyculture/slavery.htm

It's embarrassing that so many heroes are buried on stolen land.

[See Joel Wolford's comment below. --Mike]

Enjoyed the article, as well as the images used to illustrate them.

The Arlington Estate was actually sold for taxes not paid by the Lee's during the war years. A jury later found that the sale was illegal,the SCOTUS upheld the ruling, and the property returned to the Lee family. They sold it to the gov't, receiving $150,000, the equivalent of nearly 3.5 million dollars in today's currency.

I find the way that nations treat their fallen soldiers to be a profound one. I can only refer to the inscription at Gallipoli, written by Ataturk in the 30s to honour the dead.

"Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives…
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours…
You, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace, after having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well."
Ataturk, 1934

I made a short project to reflect this on my website, it's specific to ANZAC soldiers in Prague.


As a final comment, from the wars in Yugoslavia, where I think it is fair to say that Serbia has been painted as the bad guy, cousin, A UN police liaison officer told me that the Serbs alone took care to honour the dead of their enemies. I think this too needs to be shared.

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