The weeping willow is (not unexpectedly) symbolic of grief; lamentation; mourning; and sorrow.
The weeping-willow has been associated with sorrow and bereavement ever since the Babylonian Captivity when the Jews became captives of Nebuchadnezzar in 597 B.C.
In the Native American culture a willow tree represents an Iroquois grave.
The Willow was a symbol of the Greek Underworld goddesses, mostly notably Persephone. Orpheus carried a willow branch when he went to the Underworld, and helped him get his gift of speech to become a famous poet.
The symbolic tree of human sadness is carried at Masonic funerals
Candles are symbolic of the spirit or the soul. To Christians, candles symbolize Jesus Christ who is the Light of the World. Roman Catholics often leave candles at the graveside to show that prayers have been said for the deceased.
The death of a child is always tragic, an unfulfilled life reduced to a name and two dates on a stone. Sadder still, is a headstone with no details of the departed.
Sleeping and waiting
Here lyes dust of
In May 1977, a garbage bag containing the decomposed body of an infant girl was found in the Walnut Creek arm of the Delaware River. The baby, only a few weeks old, was never identified and was buried in Oskaloosa’s Pleasant View Cemetery, where it remained mostly forgotten and without a stone marker. The grave marker for the unidentified baby girl was donated by Hutton Monuments of Topeka.
He died at the Marion County Poor Farm/Asylum in central Kansas, USA. The asylum offered a home for the indigent, those unable to live independently, and unwed pregnant girls who lived there until they gave birth. The children were then put up for adoption.
A cholera epidemic in 1847 orphaned many children who were then billeted at the Oak Woods Cemetery Orphan Asylum in Chicago. The relentless epidemic eventually led to their deaths.
Loved and lost awhile
On 8 January 1872, the horribly mutilated body of a 16 year old girl named Angeline Moore was found. She was bound to servitude with Mrs. Thompson. Although the cause of death was never determined, Mrs. Thompson and her daughter with charged with murder.
How charming all, how much she was ador’d alive; now dead, how much’s her loss deplor’d
A boy living wild in the woods in northern Germany was discovered by a party of hunters in 1725. He had been living in the forest, eating plant life and walking on all fours. He was brought to Great Britain in 1726 where he was lived until his death. He is buried in the graveyard attached to St Mary’s Church, Northchurch, Hertfordshire
The farewell words were spoken, no time to say goodbye You were gone before we knew it And only God knows why. 1979
Epidemics of cholera in 1832, 1848, and 1873 were the second leading cause of death in the mid 19th century. Rapid population growth and a lack of sanitary water, caused diarrhea and vomiting that lead to dehydration almost immediately and death in less than a day.
Here lies best of men whose life is at an end The best of husbands & ye truest friend Who rests, I hope, as I do hope to be Happy with him to all Eternity
During the Christmas period of 1933, a stranger appeared in the town of Willoughby, Ohio. On December 24th, she threw herself in front of a train at the Second Street railroad crossing and was killed. With no identification on her person, her identity remained unknown until 1993 when she was discovered to be Josephine “Sophie” Klimczak, a native to Pennsylvania. In 2004, a plinth with her name was donated by Kotecki Monuments of Cleveland. The inscription reads: “In Memory of the Girl in Blue killed by train December 24, 1933. Unknown but not forgotten.”
Paul G. Lind (legal name Ebbighausen) died 29 March 2005 and is commemorated with a Scrabble board in Lone Fir Pioneer Cemetery, Portland, Oregon. A fanatical Scrabble player, this game contains two blank tiles: the “b” in football, and the 2nd “l” in loveable.
The gravestone for Penney is inscribed with the American sign language symbol for ‘I love you’. Pennies are frequently left atop the gravestone.
Andrew Heron had 4 wives who died in 1803, 1812, 1832, the last seems to have finally outlived him. He died in 1848.
Resembles walking into the sea.
From my rotting body, flowers shall grow and I am in them and that is eternity. ~Edvard Munch
This sculpture could be related to an old tradition of attaching a bell to the wrist of the dead to prevent people from being buried whilst still alive. A string was tied on the wrist of the corpse which was attached to a bell above ground while a sentry sat in the cemetery overnight.
Cemetery now under water
Gravestone memorializing the owner of the clothespin factory in Montpelier, Vermont.
The term Gypsy is no longer used by the aforesaid people who prefer to be known as Roma. More of a nickname, several countries claim their own ‘Queen’ .
On January 31, 1915, Kelly Mitchell, Queen of the Gypsy Nation, died at age 47 while giving birth to her 14th child. Although she died in Coatapa, Alabama, she is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery, Meridian, Mississippi, USA. Approximately 20,000 Romanies travelled to pay their last respects. The headstone is constantly swathed with beads and trinkets put there to beseech the Queen to provide answers to their problems. Her husband Emil Mitchell, King of the Gypsies, is also buried in the cemetery.
When Ruby Pearl Marshall died in 2016, hundreds of mourners travelled to Wales to pay their respects to the 78 year old who had 52 grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The funeral was held at St Tydfil’s Old Parish Church in Merthyr with burial at Glyntaff Cemetery in Pontypridd, Wales. The Romanis followed a century old tradition which allows each family member to choose a keepsake from the deceased’s belongings. The caravan with contents was then burned.
Ellen McDonagh from Levenshulme, Manchester, England, survived the tragic loss of two husbands. She raised six kids on her own, and at the time of her passing in 2017 she had 40 grandchildren. She was known across England and Ireland as Queen of the Gypsies. Members of the traveller community in Ireland and the UK travelled to Manchester to pay their respects to Ellen.
Carmen Amaya who was born in 1918 in the slums of Barcelona, Spain became the greatest Flamenco dancer of her generation. She was also known as the Queen of the Gypsies. She died in 1963 of kidney failure and was originally buried in her hometown of Bagur. Her body was later transferred to the family tomb of her husband, Juan Antonio Aguero, in the cemetery of Ciriego, Santander, Spain. The grave is not marked with her name as the family wished to prevent it from becoming an attraction for gypsies.
A monument of Carmen posed in traditional Flamenco dress is located at the Jardins de Joan Brossa in Montjuïc, Barcelona.
The term ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ was initiated when President Bill Clinton signed a law regarding the service of homosexuals in the military, which directed military personnel to ‘don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t pursue, don’t harass.’
Leonard P. Matlovich was an Air Force sergeant who served three tours of duty in Vietnam and was gravely wounded. He was awarded the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and two Air Force Commendation medals for gallantry under fire and exemplary service. Yet, despite his service, he was discharged from the U.S. Air Force after confessing his sexuality to his commanding officer. His struggle to receive an honourable discharge, rather than the general discharge advocated by the Air Force, triggered a national movement regarding gay rights especially in the military.
Knowing that he had AIDS at a time when it was a death sentence, he designed his own headstone with the idea that it would stand as a memorial for all gay veterans.
His design of a black reflective surface replicating the Vietnam War Memorial incorporated two triangles referencing the pink triangle which was a symbol sewn on the clothes of homosexuals in Nazi concentration camps. The left triangle pointing downward is a symbol of defeat. It is highlighted with the legend, ‘Never Again.’ The upward pointing triangle on the right is a symbol of victory with the phrase, ‘Never Forget.’ Although the dates of his birth and death are inscribed on the headstone, his name (Matlovich) is only inscribed at the foot of the memorial.
As an activist for Gay Rights, his words are inscribed on his headstone: ‘When I Was In The Military They Gave Me A Medal For Killing Two Men And A Discharge For Loving One.’ Although eligible to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery he chose to be interred in the Congressional Cemetery in Washington DC. “I believe we must be the same activists in our deaths that we were in our lives,” Leonard Matlovich. A gay veteran’s memorial service is held at his grave every Veteran’s Day.
Members of American Veterans for Equal Rights have purchased adjoining plots with the intention of creating an LGBT veterans memorial.
This marker for Marine Corps veteran and activist Tom Swann is located near Matlovich’s grave. Swann won a lawsuit against the Navy for discrimination against him as a civilian employee after they learned he was gay. He also led the creation of a memorial for LGBT veterans in Desert Memorial Park near Palm Springs. Never Give Up Hope Or Give In To Discrimination.
Michael William Hildebrand’s stone does not state that he is gay. However, the use of the pink triangle and the proximity to Matlovich’s grave suggests such. An inscription reads, “It Was Said Of Him That He Had The Gift To Give Love To Those Who Felt Unloved.”