October 12 – United States Soldier and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery (ONP # 283)

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How many times, how many times, how many times. . . have I said this, have I never looked, have I driven by without knowing it existed, this place.  This is a theme of my ONP year: the treasures concealed just around the corner if we turn left, go right, get off our beaten routes.

Today’s surprise: the United States Solider and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery. I found out this cemetery existed just four days ago when I visited President Lincoln’s Cottage (October 8 ONP) on the grounds of the Old Soldiers’ Home.  The cemetery is located just behind the Home and is run by the same people who run Arlington National Cemetery.

Now that I know it is there, it is almost unfathomable how I missed it all these years. But I guess I never had reason to turn down the one-way road where it is located. Or turn my head right or left to look at it as I passed by.

In any case, I made up for that today, this gorgeous fall day, the sun shining, the sky blue, the grass still green and the air fresh. We were the only ones there, so we wandered inside the wrought iron fence, over the hills, around the tombs, noting the dates (from the Civil War to now) and names.

They say in Mexico that your last death is the last time somebody says your name. If so, we kept a few old soldiers alive today.