June 29th, 2010

Patriotic Saddle Display

Patriotic Saddle Display

A new state veteran’s cemetery is being planned near Corpus Christi, Texas. Groundbreaking on the Coastal Bend State Veterans Cemetery will take place tomorrow. The 54-acre site was donated to the state by Flint Hills Resources. Funded by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, cemetery construction is expected to take about 18 months. The Corpus Christi cemetery will be the fourth state veterans cemetery located in the state of Texas which is also home to 4 national veterans cemeteries.

The creation of federal veterans cemeteries began during the Civil War with the creation of the first national veterans cemetery in Arlington, Virginia near Washington, D.C. Prior to the Civil War, America was dotted with small cemeteries near battlefields from the early skirmishes that accompanied our nation’s growth. The massive loss of life during the Civil War, however, created a need for large cemeteries where fallen soldiers could be laid to rest far from their home towns. That need was exacerbated by the deaths of thousands of U.S. soldiers during the two world wars.

During the second world war, veterans cemeteries were built in most states to provide a permanent resting place for fallen soldiers close to their families. Families found comfort in the ability to visit the graves of sons and daughters killed in the war. Many families will be visiting the graves of their loved ones at veterans cemeteries during the July 4th weekend. The Gravesite Masters can deliver patriotic cemetery flowers across the country.

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June 22nd, 2010

Descendants of America’s last slaves celebrated Juneteenth by sprucing up their ancestors’ graves at a historic black cemetery in Carrollton, Texas. On June 19, 1865, slaves in Texas were the last slaves to be freed at the end of America’s Civil War. Although President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation freeing American slaves on September 22, 1862, many states, including Texas, refused to recognize the end of slavery until forced to do so. Slavery remained prevalent in East Texas until  June 19, 1865, when Union Army General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston with 2,000 federal troops to enforce emancipation. First celebrated in Texas in 1980, Juneteenth has become a nationwide celebration of that historic event.

Founded in the late 1800s, the historic Carrollton, Texas cemetery is the final resting place of Carrollton’s earliest black settlers. The stones and wooden crosses that mark many of those earliest gravesites are old and faded but still visible, although many markers were washed away in the 1960 flooding of the Trinity River. The final burial at the cemetery took place in 1960, but the families and friends of those buried in Carrollton continue to visit the cemetery, care for its graves and remember the sacrifices of their ancestors.

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June 15th, 2010

Dad Gravesite Spray

Dad Gravesite Spray

My father died a few years back. He was not a world leader or a star athlete. His name was never bandied about the gossip columns, and it won’t be found in future history books. Like most fathers, my dad was just an average guy. He worked hard to keep food on the table and a roof over our heads. Dad was the one who ran behind the bike yelling encouragement as you struggled to balance. He spent hours pitching slow balls while you practiced your swing. He showed you how to pound a nail and fix a leaky faucet. He gritted he teeth and remained calm when you ground the gears while learning to shift. And he told unbelievably corny jokes! 

Dad was always the one saddled with the job of straightening you out when you crossed the line. But he was also the one who pushed you to explore life and strive to do your best. He helped you move into your first apartment and congratulated you on your first job. When you were young, Dad was the wisest man you know. By your teens, you couldn’t believe how dumb he was. Somewhere in your mid-20s you were amazed by how sharp he’d become. Dad didn’t change, but you did; and he was with you every step of the way.

Father’s Day is Sunday. If your Dad is still with you, spend some time together. If he’s passed on, remember your Dad and all the things he taught you. Visit his grave, leave some cemetery flowers and say “thank you” one more time.

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June 8th, 2010

Silver Fancy White Heart

Silver Fancy White Heart

Mothers may have gotten their special day first, but fathers weren’t far behind. Just a year after the first national celebration of Mother’s Day, Sonora Dodd of Spokane, Washington started a movement to recognize fathers with their own special day. Brought up by a strong father, a Civil War veteran who raised a brood of six after his wife died in childbirth, Dodd wanted to recognize the contribution fathers make to their families.

On June 19, 1910, Dodd and members of the YMCA wore roses to church in honor of their fathers. Red roses were worn to honor living fathers; white roses commemorated fathers who had passed away. Despite several attempts to declare a national Father’s Day celebration, fathers didn’t get their own special day until 1966 when President Lyndon Johnson issued a presidential proclamation designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day and a day to honor fathers. In 1972, the day was finally designated a permanent national holiday when it was signed into law by President Richard Nixon.

Today, children and wives remember the contributions Dads make to their families with barbecues, gifts and lots of pampering. But long after our fathers pass away, their legacy remains a strong guiding force. Families honor fathers that have passed away by placing flowers and other gravesite tributes at their graves. If you cannot travel to your father’s grave this Father’s Day, don’t forget your Dad. The Gravesite Masters can deliver your Father’s Day tribute to cemeteries across the country.

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June 1st, 2010

They say everyone dies alone, but planning a funeral should be a family affair. Just as you plan and discuss legal, retirement, medical and other major life issues with your family, you should discuss your funeral and burial preferences well before you reach the end of life. In our society, a funeral is a time to pay tribute to our dead, but a funeral should also succor the living. Family members should have an opportunity to express their opinions about funeral practices that would be meaningful to them and that might bring them comfort in their grief.

There is no one “right” way to hold a funeral and bury a loved one. Choices should be dictated by any wishes expressed by your loved one before he or she died, but funeral choices should also meet the needs of the family members left behind wherever possible. Discussing these issues while everyone is still healthy and active can make end-of-life decisions easier to make when the time comes.

Families should make burial and memorial choices based on their personal beliefs, family preferences and budget. It can be helpful to interview area funeral homes in advance and review price lists. Commonly requested services are often bundled into cost-effective packages, but most funeral homes will also offer individual services from which families can pick and choose. Discuss options and prices with the funeral home director, then with your family and select options that fit within your family’s budget.

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May 25th, 2010

Patriotic Star

Patriotic Star

The stirring sound of Taps will be heard at cemeteries across America this weekend, its haunting melody rising above the tombstones. In towns large and small, veterans groups, Boy Scout troops, families and community groups are placing flags and flowers at the graves of America’s fallen soldiers in preparation for Memorial Day this coming Monday. Ceremonies will be held to honor the brave men and women who have died serving America on our country’s national day of mourning and at each Taps will be played.

Composed during the Civil War by Union General Daniel Butterfield in July 1862, Taps is the bugle call used by the U.S. military to signal lights out. Just as Reveille is played at sunrise to signal the start of the military day, Taps’ 24 mournful notes are bugled at sunset to mark the end of another day. Taps provided a fitting dirge as soldiers mourned their fallen comrades and brought comfort to those who lived, assuring them that they were safe and would arise to fight again.

Traditionally played at military funerals and at wreath-laying ceremonies at cemeteries and war memorials, Taps’ solemn notes are the final bugle call in the life of a soldier.

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May 18th, 2010

Patriotic Cedar Cross

Patriotic Cedar Cross

It was the nation’s bloodiest, most divisive war that sparked the creation of America’s first national cemetery. In July 1862, at the height of the Civil War, Congress initiated the national cemetery system when it passed legislation authorizing President Abraham Lincoln to purchase land to create national cemeteries for “soldiers who shall have died in the service of the country.”

Arlington National Cemetery on the outskirts of the nation’s capitol in Arlington, Virginia was the first national cemetery. Today 141 national cemeteries hold the remains of our country’s fallen warriors, including 14 burial sites at national battlefields. Any U.S. soldier who has served on active duty for a least 24 months, any sodier who died during or as a result of combat, certain reservists, and any soldier honorably discharged may choose to be buried at a national cemetery. In some cases, the spouses of veterans may also be buried at national cemeteries. Veterans are also eligible for a free grave marker courtesy of Uncle Sam, whether they are buried in a private or national cemetery. Veterans or their families may choose from granite, marble or bronze monument plaques by making application to the Veterans Administration Monument Service.

Gravesite Masters can help you remember loved ones who have served our country. We can deliver Memorial Day flags, flowers and memorials to cemeteries across the country.

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May 11th, 2010

Memorial Flag Pillow

Memorial Flag Pillow

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier may be America’s most well-known grave site. Located near the center of Arlington National Cemetery, the Tomb of the Unknowns is a monolithic marble sarcophagus that holds the remains of unknown American soldiers who fought and died during World War I, World War II, the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam War. The marble tomb is carved with three Greek figures representing Peace, Victory and Valor and laurel wreaths representing the six major battles of World War I and inscribed with the words: “Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God.”

Upon internment, each unknown soldier was awarded a Medal of Honor. The medals and the flags that draped the soldiers’ coffins are displayed in the Memorial Amphitheater located directly behind the tomb. Specially trained members of the 3rd U.S. Infantry, known as The Old Guard, stand watch over the tomb 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year to honor the brave soldiers who died defending our country.

The marble slab from which the Tomb  of the Unknowns was carved was mined from the Yule Marble Quarry near the tiny town of Marble, Colorado in 1931. Marble for the Lincoln memorial also came from the same quarry which was owned by the Vermont Marble Company. Following both World War I and World War II, many U.S. communities erected local veterans memorials to unknown soldiers to honor their war dead.

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May 4th, 2010

Ground Flag Holder

Ground Flag Holder

A community service project turned into an unusual history lesson for a group of Philadelphia high school students recently. The students were raking and shoveling debris and trash from the grass in an East Camden neighborhood park when their shovels clinked against rock, but not just any rock. The students had uncovered a row of flat white rectangular stones set closely into the ground. Examination showed the weathered stones to be headstones from the 1800s. The students had discovered a historic African American graveyard, long lost to neglect, its memory fading under the tall grass.

Records from the Camden County Historical Society showed the cemetery to date back to the 1800s when it served as the last resting place for nearly 250 black residents from the surrounding community. Known then as Johnson Cemetery, it was also the burial site of 123 soldiers from the U.S. Colored Troops who fought and died during the Civil War.

Historical society photographs from the 1970s depict rows of light gray headstones, many of the old stones tilted or leaning. In the archival photos, small American flags decorate many of the soldiers’ graves. As recently as 40 years ago, the cemetery was still a place where families came to remember and honor their dead and those who served their country. Perhaps now that the cemetery has been rediscovered, it will be again.

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April 27th, 2010

Solar Memorial Flag

Solar Memorial Flag

Our nation has set aside the last Monday in May, May 31 this year, to pay tribute to the brave men and women who have died gallantly in military service to the United States. On Memorial Day our nation will remember and grieve for the heroic men and women who have died protecting America, Americans and freedom. The Gravesite Masters can arrange to deliver memorial flowers, U.S. flag tributes or solar light memorials to the graves of your family’s fallen heroes anywhere in the U.S. Even if you live far from their final resting place, with the help of The Gravesite Masters you can arrange to remember and honor the men and women who have fought their final battle.

Originally known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day dates back to the Civil War custom of decorating the graves of fallen soldiers. The end of May was chosen to commemorate the reunification of the country following the Civil War and was expanded to encompass all fallen veterans after World War I.

Solar memorial flags, solar crosses, solar yellow ribbons and solar-powered angels are particularly popular Memorial Day tributes for deceased veterans. Powered by unobtrusive solar batteries, these beautiful gravesite memorials light up the night, bringing comfort to all who see them.

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