Monday, May 30, 2011
On the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend, we attended the fifteenth annual luminaria at the Fredericksburg National Cemetery, honoring fallen American soldiers. A luminary bag with candle is lit for every soldier interred in the cemetery, for a total of 15,300 flickering lights. The idea for this memorial event started with area Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, and it’s the scouts who set up the bags, place the small American flags, and light the thousands of candles before dusk. I remember the days when my kids were scouts and we helped set up the site, and I’ve driven past the cemetery on the night of the luminaria before. But this was our first time walking the grounds as darkness fell. Taps are played every half hour, and despite the crowds, a respectful quiet was maintained throughout the cemetery. We avoided the large group tours that were being conducted, and found quieter areas to walk. After the usual cookouts and start-of-summer activities, the luminaria is a moving, peaceful way to commemmorate the day.
Scouts keep the candles lit:
Darkness starts to fall:
A lone Marine bugler plays Taps: