Taking Time to Remember the Veterans at the Gerald B. Solomon National Cemetery

Friday, December 27, 2019
The Christmas season is touted as a joyous time, a time marked with festivities and joy, family and togetherness, twinkly lights and brightly wrapped presents, but everyone knows it's also a time of sadness and grief for many.  It can be a time of loneliness and sorrow, loss and remembrance.  There's no place where that remembrance is more evident, more palpable than a cemetery, especially the Gerald B. Solomon National Cemetery in Schuylerville.  John and I made a visit there the Saturday before Christmas to take some time to remember those who gave so much for our country and to pay our respects, not just to my aunt and uncle who are buried there, but to remember the families of all those who lay beside them.  A ride through this cemetery is sobering at any time, but especially at the holidays when the graves are all adorned with wreaths.

This year over 12,000 wreaths were laid by volunteers on the graves and along the Columbarium.  It's hard to describe the feelings that come over you as you drive through the winding roads amidst the rows of identical stones, seeing a sea of granite lined up like the soldiers that once walked this earth.  What struck me most as I shot photos along the way was how the snow covered wreaths sometimes covered all but the first name of the veteran who was buried there.  Seeing the names......Peter, Dennis, Harold, Gary, Marjorie, Alexander, Frederick, Chester, etc.... sort of made these veterans more personal, like acquaintances.  It made them feel less like strangers and more like neighbors, old friends, old classmates - not just formal names of strangers laid to rest in a common plot.  It made the reality a little sadder.  These folks....Thomas, and Lawrence, Maurice and George......someone real, someone concrete, someone more than a gravestone and a name.  It's hard to describe, but the feeling was deep.

I suspect there's nothing that can ease the sorrow of spending Christmas without a loved one, but it must be comforting to see that that loved one is laid to rest in such a place of beauty and honor alongside so many who sacrificed for their country.  I think it's important as we spend time focusing on the joys of the holiday season to remember those gone before us.  Its' important to take a moment to remember while we are caught up in the celebrations, others are struggling just to get past them.  I urge you to take a ride through the Gerald B. Solomon National Cemetery and to pay your respects to the thousands buried there along with their spouses.  I promise you'll be glad you did.

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