I’ve seen this picture online at a couple of different sites but never with a title or location. I find the picture haunting and beautiful. When first seeing it on Pinterest the first thought I had was that looks like a stairway to heaven. Yes , I am a Led Zepplin fan.
What thoughts do you have when you see this picture?
Do you know the title or location?
Every year we drive up to Minnesota to see our youngest daughter and her partner. It’s such a long drive from Kansas (12 hours) that unless we have planed ahead we simply just drive, and that’s a lot of highway.
When we do pull off the highway, and as long as it doesn’t take us too far off the path, I try to locate local cemeteries. The small city of Cameron, Missouri has a population of around 10,000. Give or take a few thousand. This small size city has the daunting task of taking care of 5 cemeteries. All five are large cemeteries and all five belong to the city of Cameron. The cemeteries are: McDaniel 600+, Packard 2000+, Graceland Memorial 1000+, Graceland 2000+, Evergreen 1500+, the numbers represent approximately how many are buried at each cemetery. Cameron had a historical board as well as a cemetery board and with that many cemeteries to maintain its easy to understand why they have the boards. I’m in awe of how such a small city manages to maintain so much cemetery acreage.
Like every state in the union Kansas has many small Cemeteries. Mount Zion is one such cemetery. This quiet little piece of green earth is along highway 160 and almost appears as a highway rest stop. Some of the earliest buried there are from the 1800’s with the latest burial in 2020. Mount Zion was once referred to as the Kellogg Cemetery. I can only assume that the cemetery sits on land that was once owned by the Kellogg family. There are four Kellogg family members laid to rest there in the late 1800s and early 1900s. When you visit this cemetery of roughly 200 souls on Find A Grave you will notice two things; one the family names are repetitive and very few died of old age. The Hubbard family have 7 children all under the age of 17 buried there, all with different dates and years of death. The Hubbard parents and extended family are not laid to rest there, which makes one wonder if they had too much of the Kansas prairie and left for a better life and less painful memories.
When driving through Kansas backroads it is not unusual to come across little country cemeteries. These cemeteries will pop up surrounded by fields of maize, wheat, sunflowers, or corn. FindAGrave.com has 9 cemeteries in Kansas names Mt. Zion. The picture below is a small cemetery outside Winfield, Kansas named Mt. Zion. This cemetery, like many others dotted around Kansas, sits by a dead end road surrounded by a field of green growing maize. Less than 200 people are buried there but the cemetery is set beneath shade trees and is well groomed and cared for. These little country cemeteries are so very peaceful and prideful.
The final resting place of those who sacrificed so much for their country is being neglected and forgotten. Retired naval captain Ralph Parrot has made it his mission to restore the respect and dignity to the oldest military cemetery on the west coast — but he can’t do it alone.
When local resident Nestor Aliga heard about Captain Parrott’s work, he started this petition to get the Veterans Administration to repossess this forgotten place in our Navy’s history. Your signature can help.
After the U.S. Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, CA closed in 1996, responsibility for maintaining the Mare Island Cemetery slipped through the bureaucratic cracks – allegedly becoming the responsibility of the City of Vallejo.
Without a plan for ongoing maintenance from the U.S. Navy or dedicated funding from the city, the cemetery fell into a state of disrepair. Currently, only a small group of volunteers devote time to doing even the most basic upkeep.
Mare Island Cemetery is no ordinary interment park. It’s the oldest military cemetery on the west coast. It’s on the National Register of Historic places. Victims of the U.S.S. Boston tragedy are buried there, as is Francis Scott Key’s daughter and numerous sailors.
But over twenty years of neglect have left the facility in a deplorable condition. Critics point to leaning, fallen headstones. Meanwhile, other headstones and markers are being propped up with stray pieces of wood. All believe our service members deserve better.
Change.org Campaigns Team
This is a story that could be told in any city that has an “old” cemetery. This is a story that has happened over and over with little notice or concern but for a fleeting moment.
In this story some “vandals” thought for whatever reason they had the right or pleasure to destroy graves in a historical cemetery where I live. First I should mention that the vandalism did not go unnoticed by the hardworking staff and the volunteers that give their time and talent to preserve this historical cemetery.
What did go unnoticed by the vandals were the dates, ages, and names of one particular headstone. I would hope they didn’t notice and still chose to destroy the headstone, that would make them not only vandals, but lost souls.
The headstone I’m referring belonged to the Steele family. To be specific, the Steele children;
Eliza – age 4yrs. – Henry age 3yrs. – Timothy age 2yrs.
All three children died within a few days of one another in March of 1877. That year there was an epidemic of scarlet fever and the Steele children succumbed to the fever. I can’t imagine the grief and pain this mother must have felt or the tears that continued to come that horrible month in 1877 as she lost one child ,and then another ,and another. The monument was a way of expressing that her children were here on earth, they were part of a family, they were loved, and their deaths left a hole in their family and her heart.
A few months ago someone discovered the missing headstones in a creek on the other side of town. The headstones have been restored thanks to the work of volunteers.
I can only vision a mother who wiped her tears away with the restoration of her children’s final resting place.