Since we visited Arlington National Cemetery for Christmas, my first headstone of the week is one I specifically went to first ~ that of my grandfather. Interestingly enough, I knew exactly where it was, even though it had been a number of years since I’d been there. (over 10 to be exact!)William Francis Sherman, II (according to him) is buried in Section 12, Site #1415, within view of the Tomb for the Unknown Soldier.When I got to the grave, I wondered about the dip in the ground and what appeared to be dead grass around it, until it dawned on me about all the recent news stories about errors in burials in that cemetery. If the grave falls behind the headstone, the one reinterred was not my grandfather, but the veteran who’s headstone is in front of his. It was hard to photograph what the naked eye saw, but I tried.
As I stood at my Grandfather’s final resting place, I asked him “Who are you??” He had told my father that he had lied about his age to join the service because he was too young to enlist but doubtful that was the reason. I think he also lied about his name. He has entered several different dates of birth on documents I have found, different birthplaces and now my brother’s DNA does NOT match any other Sherman on record! The closest match we can find is to the Ziegler family and that is within 5 generations!
He is my very own grandfather, and my very own block wall! Since my grandparents got a divorce the family never spoke of him. His death certificate information was not factual since it was completed with information he had furnished his family. And you would think that the Veterans Department would have a great file on this man and they probably did . . . until that dreaded fire in St. Louis.
This man took his secrets to the grave with him and I wish he’d tell me just a couple of them . . .
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Posted in Biography, Cemeteries, Graveyards, Headstone, tagged 16th Presdient, 27th President, 35th President, Arlington House, Arlington National Cemetery, Eternal Flame, Grave, James Buchanan, John F. Kennedy, Lancaster Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., William Howard Taft, Woodward Hill Cemetery on December 26, 2011 |
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Yes, we did. We visited three different United States Presidents’ Grave sites for Christmas, 2011! First stop was to our 16th President, James Buchanan’s grave in Woodward Hill Cemetery, right here in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Woodward Hill was once a beautiful cemetery, but as the city grew, the area it is in became surrounded by “less than desirable” housing and the cemetery fell into disrepair. We were disappointed that there wasn’t even a Christmas Wreath honoring this former President. His home is decorated beautifully, his final resting place isn’t. (To be fair, James Buchanan’s home is maintained by a completely different organization than the cemetery is, and they aren’t responsible for what happens in the cemetery!)The second President we visited was our 27th President, William Howard Taft. He was so admired by Theodore Roosevelt that he had been “hand picked” to be his successor as President, and it’s easy to see why since he wasn’t only our President, but he was also, United States Secretary of War, Governor of the Philippines and Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
. . . and of course if you’re visiting Presidents and you’re visiting Arlington National Cemetery, you must visit the Eternal Flame and JFK’s Memorial. Since we had not been there for years, we stopped by to pay our respect to our 35th President and his family.This was probably one of the most popular sites in the cemetery, with people ignoring “Authorized Vehicles Only” signs to drive right to it. They also ignored this sign, and any others they could find.The site for this President sits right under the Arlington House, former residence of Robert E. Lee. The Kennedy site sits land managed by the Army, which at the time of Kennedy’s death, controlled Arlington Cemetery and close to the land the Arlington House sits on, which was controlled by the National Park Service.
This was just part of our Christmas journey to Washington D.C., but a part that will be forever etched in our hearts and mind.
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