We had occasion to be in Marion, IN last weekend.  As we were driving through town, we saw a National Cemetery (Google map here).

There are about eight thousand veterans buried there.

That’s a lot. One section had this many rows

by this many columns

From every branch of the service, from every war.

Memorial Day is still a couple months away, but it’s never wrong to honor those who have given of their best for the country.

And their families. It looks as if some wives are buried with their husbands. Each stone marker has on its reverse an identifying number: section of the cemetery and the sequential number within that section

And occasionally the wife’s information

Lots of these veterans were older when they died, but not all.

Specialist Robert Christopher-Dale Walden had served in Afghanistan and the Indiana National Guard when he was struck by a vehicle while walking on a road just outside Fort Hood, Texas.

Each and every one of these people had a life and touched people. They may have done it in different ways, and they surely did it at different times. The monuments reflect a change in the style of stone.

I can’t call them all fighting men: there are women veterans buried here.

Most modern markers have crosses on them, although the form changes some.

And some have the cross conspicuously absent.

Some of the information reminds us of almost-forgotten conflicts

There were veterans from many states, not just Indiana.

And a few countries

And some with only the fact of name and dates, and the inference that they were veterans because of being in this cemetery

There were little moments of humor in the whole experience

But it was a very sobering and somber hour that we spent among the dead.

Thank you, veterans, dead and alive.