Growing up, my playground was a cemetery.
Not just any cemetery, a National Cemetery.
I lived just down the road from this historic place, which is located just outside of Fort Gibson, Oklahoma, the oldest town in the state. The fort was established in 1824 with the cemetery designated a national cemetery in 1868. Some burials date back to the Civil War. A replica of the fort still stands in town for the public to go through.
A few notables buried within the wrought iron fence are Billy Bowlegs, a famed Seminole chief; the second wife of Sam Houston, Talahina “Diana” Rogers Houston; and Rough Rider Crawford D. Flying. Of course, you’ll also find Medal of Honors winners laid to rest along with thousands of others who served their country.
I still get goosebumps when I visit and see row upon row of white headstones, especially with the American Flag on each grave. As a child, I’d ride my bicycle down the dirt road to the cemetery. Caretakers lived onsite at the time, so they always watched out for me. (I love small town life!)
Before you wonder about me ‘playing’ at the cemetery, I never played on the graves. I always kept my bike on the pavement. Mindful of the graves, I’d read the tombstones around the main flagpole, fascinated by the people buried there a century before I was even born.
I have numerous relatives buried here – my dad, grandfather, several uncles and cousins – and when I think of the Fort Gibson National Cemetery, the word ‘Home’ flows over me. Should a cemetery give a person peace? This one has that effect on me.
I’d like to honor a few others who have served our country. My husband, brother, father-in-law, brother-in-law, nephews, a niece, great-nephews and multiple cousins. Each serving proudly in different branches of the military.
If you have never been to a National Cemetery on Memorial Day, I strongly urge you to go. Normally, you’ll find an American flag on each grave. I’m not sure if that will take place this year due to the virus and social distancing, but I do know my Dad and Grandfather’s graves will have the flag there. I’ll make sure of it.
Even though I no longer ‘play’ at the cemetery, I have a deep respect and appreciation for all who served their country and now lie in rest under the huge, ever-watchful flag at the end of the walk-way. Take a moment to reflect on what it is that Memorial Day stands for, which is so much more than simply the beginning of summer and vacations. Then go have a hot dog or hamburger and enjoy the day. We need to remember the past, but life really is for the living.
Widow Melody Rose has already lost one man whose job involved guns and violence. She swore she'd never put herself through that again.
At first Sheriff Jake Bennett wants nothing to do with the taciturn café owner, but Melody intrigues him. When a stalker targets her, he's determined to protect the woman he has fallen for. Can Melody overcome her greatest fear and save the man she never dreamed would claim her heart?
More About Linda
An Award-Winning and Amazon paid Kindle sales top 25 Bestselling author, Oklahoma native Linda Trout loves Happily-Ever-Afters. When she isn’t helping her husband remodel their home, she’s outside trying to tame a small portion of their ten-acres (a losing battle). Between her numerous cats, who think they have to help her write, and traveling to various parts of the country, she’s working on her next novel.