In keeping with looking at adventures that we have already gone on, today I will take you to the Confederate Cemetery in Enterprise, MS. I have never been to a cemetery like this one and had no idea what to expect. Actually this was the first real Sunday adventure. I woke up that morning and was mulling over time and while I was in the shower I had the idea to go to Enterprise and Dunn’s Falls, well…and Stuckey’s Bridge. So while I showered I thought about this and how it could grow into something great. I think a lot of great ideas happen in the shower, it is just a really relaxing place and your mind kind of runs amok.
At any rate, I got dressed and told the boys that we were going on an adventure and the tradition was born. I had been wanting to see these places for years and now was the time. We set off not really knowing where we were going or what to expect. Siri guided us to the cemetery and we parked the truck and began walking in the silence. The military cemetery is part of the regular cemetery so there were other graves to see as well. As we walked we were reminded that sometimes there just isn’t anyone left to remember these people that were laid to rest here, and for me, that was sad. Did the families move? Are there none left? Or do they just not care? They were questions I didn’t have the answer to.
Then we walked a little farther and came to the military section. I read a website as I was writing this blog that said 620,000 men died in the Civil War…According to the US Census Bureau that would be the amount of people living in Washington DC, Detroit or Nashville. Imagine that. Every person suddenly gone…Our Nation’s capital a ghost town, the Motor City empty, Music City a ruin. That is how many lives were lost in this war. I read that about 80,000 whites from Mississippi fought in the war, some fought for the Union and most fought for the Confederacy. I read on this site, that 17,000 blacks from Mississippi fought for the Union but a large number fought for the Confederacy. I further read here that if you counted casualties there were over 1 million casualties in the war. That is a very humbling number.
One thing we did come across was coins on the headstones of the soldiers. My boys asked me what they were there for and I wasn’t sure. When I came home and looked it up I was surprised to find that they did have a very good meaning. According to Coinbooks.org: a penny means that you visited; a nickle means you and the deceased trained in boot camp together; a dime means you and the deceased served together and if you leave a quarter you are letting the family of the deceased know that you were there with them when they died. I like that image. I like knowing that someone is coming out to visit and letting others know that they are.
There were a lot of headstones. There were a few headstones with names. Most of the headstones said, “Unknown”. How humbled we were. This boy was buried here and no one knew his name. No one knew his family. His family might have waited for a long time after the war, looking up with anticipation each time someone came down the walk. As the days passed they would have started to not look up until one day they would have just admitted to themselves that their loved one was not coming home. How sad to see rows and rows of headstones that read, “Unknown”. Hopefully these boys rest easy knowing that someone comes to pay their respects to them, even if they are not sure who they are. The Civil War was ugly, and it was horrible, but both sides believed in why they were fighting. It is a noble thing to die in defense of your loved ones or their way of life. I guess what we took away from this adventure was that there are things that are bigger than we are. There are times when you have to give everything you have for what you believe. There are times when even the Unknown find glory and respect. I respect the men that lay resting in that sunny green field. They knew more about dedication and respect than most of the people that run the country today do, and they were simple men. I hope that we can learn a lesson from them so that we can avoid similar mistakes in the future.