Conversations with Sleeping Heroes

Days of ceremony happen on occasion.  Flags fly high. Marching bands and parades fill the avenues.   Uniformed dignitaries  stroll to the stage to deliver a speech.  Most of the hours, days and years are quiet.  Good times to hold conversations with sleeping heroes.

Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery Ten acres were set aside by soldiers in 1826 for burial ground.  Elizabeth Ann Lash, infant daughter of an officer is the first recorded burial.

Jefferson Barracks National CemeteryIn March 1863, the U.S. Army established the Jefferson Barracks Post Cemetery.  The cemetery covers 310 acres.  The area sits on bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River.

Jefferson Barracks National CemeteryIn 1866, the Secretary of War designated the post cemetery as a national cemetery.  The Civil War brought remains of many fallen to rest.  In 1922 WW I Veterans required a medical center.  WW II required land from the military post for cemetery space.   Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery became a central location for group interments.  Sleeping Heroes, every kind, color and their limitless stories are here.

Jefferson Barracks National CemeteryEvery Row, from every angle – always straight.

chapel 7 - Jefferson Barracks cemetery spaces for gatherings

Surrounded - Protected - LovedThere are several shelters placed around the cemetery called “committal shelters.”  There are heroes, along with their spouses, from many different belief systems.  I like the regard for feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of others I find here.  Many of these heroes did not know this respect and inclusiveness in their waking life.

Visiting Columbaria at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery

Jefferson Barracks National CemeteryI passed the word “Columbarium” a few times.  I admit I did not know understand until reaching a hill top.  It was such a lovely place, I decided to stroll around.

Columbarium - Jefferson Barracks National CemeteryThis part of the cemetery has newer dates.  There are nice places to rest and reflect.

Columbarium - jefferson Barracks National CemeteryIt feels good to listen to the breeze all around, and feel a sense of hope.

sleeping heroesQuiet and Comfort is built right in.  It’s as if we are welcome to sit a while.

Conversations with Sleeping Heroes

(some else has come to spend time)

conversations with sleeping heroes

Monuments honor different parts of the story.  There is a monument to Civil war dead, Confederate dead,  WW II, Korean War, Vietnam and the Gulf War..

There are memorials for War Unknowns.

There is a red granite boulder commemorating officers and soldiers who died at Fort Bellefontaine.

One of the older monuments is dedicated to 175 soldiers of the 56th U.S. Colored Infantry.

There is a monument by artist John K. Daniels to honor the 164 Minnesotan officers and soldiers buried at this national cemetery.

There are eight recipients of the Medal of Honor and three Revolutionary War veterans.

U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Michael Blassie was shot down over South Vietnam.  His remains were sent to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.  After a DNA test, his parents asked to bring him home to Jefferson Barracks.

The stories seem to continue forever.

stories to last forever

Soldier’s Memorial Military Museum

Honestly felt dwarfed and out of my league with this adventure to the Soldier’s Memorial Military Museum.  If there is something specific you would like me to go back and learn or find, post a comment or send a message and I’ll do my best.  

Solider's Memorial, St. Louis, MO

The facility could use some financial aid towards repair, but it is still one gorgeous building that reminds us of Life, Integrity, Sacrifice and Honor.    It’s as if a concert about Promise and the Lives Given to keep it were perfectly frozen in time for all of us to stand inside, in speechless respect.

let’s take a walk about.

 The building is perfect.  Walking around, sensing the Glory prepares us for the treasury of story we will find inside.The entry is open and inviting.  Slowly we begin to understand why we are here.

We choose to enter the east room first.

Lots of display items share this space.

One display celebrates Woodrow E. White.  He served as a Topographer in WWII.  He not only made great maps, he also delighted family and friends with his sense of artistic humor.  His family shared snippets from letters he sent.  He served in the Army from March 28th, 1941 to Nov. 15th, 1945.

There is a wall inside a reception area with information and invites for veterans.  It looks like people offer and/or find help.

Tips, Information and Invites for All veterans.  Soldiers Memorial Military Museum

Tips, Information and Invites for All Veterans.

In the western room:


 That Hotchkiss Revolving Cannon was invented in 1870.  It was fired using a hand crank.  It could fire sixty to eighty rounds per minute and cover a distance of two and a half miles.  It was used against small, rapid boats.

Barnes field hospital

British Cap Badges and Buttons collected in WWI by medical personnel

Here is a story I liked.  Medical teams from Barnes Hospital, served a base hospital in Rouen, France in WWI.  These are collections of British cap badges and buttons that were collected.

Civil War?  In 1861 Benton Barracks was the largest Civil War Training Camp in St. Louis.  The land it occupied sits just a few blocks from Soldier’s Memorial.  It was a Union camp.

Benton Barracks, 1861 Union Training Camp

There was quite a scandal, in 1863, when it was discovered that medical discharges could be purchased from the “right doctor” at Benton Barracks Hospital  for $50.

Civil War, Soldiers Memorial Military Museum

Civil War

There is a very special display at the Soldier’s Memorial Military Museum in recognition of the Gold Star Mothers.  The last Sunday of September was designated their “special day” in 1936, before the end of WWII.  Now this group is called Gold Star Survivors.  These people remind us “Freedom is Not Free.”

open, Soldiers Memorial Military Museum