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Everyone dies. Some leave in great fanfare, while others may not even be mentioned in the obituary section of their local newspaper. Some may not have a stone to mark their grave. However, every death has a life behind it, a story, a history. Somehow, visiting a grave, while not telling a story, produces a feeling. You can feel history. Seeing the grave, the actual resting place of the dead, makes the life real and not just a story.
In the case of cemeteries, they are all different, all with a personality of their own. This may be just a matter of who is buried in a particular cemetery, or how they were buried. What creates a cemetery's personality is uncertain, but it is there.
Tombstones are the key feature of any cemetery. While many cemeteries may also have monuments, Mausoleums and Columbariums, the most common feature is rows of headstones.
Originally, a tombstone was the stone placed on top of a stone coffin. A gravestone was a stone slab covering a grave. Headstones were generally markers denoting a grave. Today, all of these terms indicate a marker placed at the head of a grave.
The primary inscription on headstones is the person's name birth date and the death date. Other elements might include artwork, which might be symbolic, or text containing a quotation or other epitaph. Often, these inscriptions are religious in nature, and families seek comfort in Inspirational Bible Passages.
Due to their expense, some stones have the names and details of more than one person, usually members of the same family. The cost of such items means that gravestones often are a reflection or indication of a person's wealth and status.
Headstones are commonly made of common field stones, slate, limestone, slate, granite, marble, bronze and sandstone. Wood is used, but is unlikely to last more than 100 years. The softer the material, the easier it is to carve, however, they tend to decay more quickly than materials such as marble or granite.
Strangers In The Box
~Pamela A. Harazim
Come, look with me inside this drawer,
In this box I've often seen,
At the pictures, black and white,
Faces proud, still, serene.
I wish I knew the people,
These strangers in the box.
Their names and all their memories
Are lost among my socks.
I wonder what their lives were like,
How did they spend their days?
What about their special times?
I'll never know their ways.
If only someone had taken time
To tell who, what, where, or when,
These faces of my heritage
Would come to life again.
Could this become the fate
Of the pictures we take today?
The faces and the memories
Someday to be passed away?
Make time to save your stories,
Seize the opportunity when it knocks,
Or someday you and yours could be
The strangers in the box.
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