Because we had gone on the prison tour so early we were out before lunch time and decided to go into DC to see the Congressional Cemetery. I've not been here before and was keen to see who would be buried here with such an impressive name.
, click here, has quite a lot of information.
We came across a very recent grave with no headstone but a cluster of plants in pots on top in desperate need of water. I put my camera on a bench and dragged over a hosepipe drenching the plants, many of which were pretty hibiscus flowers. Too late I realized that while I was watering, my poor camera was also getting a good soaking from a leak in the hosepipe which was aimed directly at the bench. So much for my good deed. I quickly moved it and finished my watering. I slung my camera over my shoulder hoping the hot sun would soon dry it out, which fortunately it did, but I did get a couple of cool photos with blur filter effects from the water.
A thousand paper cranes are traditionally given as a wedding gift by
the father, who is wishing a thousand years of happiness and prosperity
upon the couple. They can also be gifted to a new baby for long life and
good luck. Hanging them in one's home is thought to be a powerfully
lucky and benevolent charm.
Several temples, including some in Tokyo and Hiroshima,
have eternal flames for World Peace. At these temples, school groups or
individuals often donate Senbazuru to add to the prayer for peace. The
cranes are left exposed to the elements, slowly dissolving and becoming
tattered as the wish is released. In this way they are related to the prayer flags of India and Tibet.
In Western countries, the custom has been extended from giving a senbazuru to cancer patients, to using them at funerals or on the grave.
The sun was blazing down so intensely that as soon as I stopped moving I felt as though it was boring into me. I ended up seeking the sanctuary of the shade from the taller headstones and statues until finally we had endured enough and were driven back to the car and its AC, fanning over us with a soothing breeze. I know there were many resting places of so many important people that I missed but I shan't come back to this cemetery again, I was disappointed at its neglect. There was still apparent storm damage, a large fallen branch smothering a small group of headstones with many more headstones broken and shattered, pieces left where they fell in the grass. All of the stone paths needed attention, weeds removed and stones leveled. The overall impression of this place was, to me, sad and forgotten. I hope people visiting DC for the first time and coming here don't leave thinking all of the city shares this feeling of neglect. Another thing I disliked is a new policy that allows people, for a small sum of money, to exercise their dogs here. The thought of a dog defecating on a family grave disgusts me and I struggle to find this new policy acceptable, but obviously funds are low and desperate measures are sought.
Click here for an excellent article written last year. This cemetery holds so much history that it's almost a crime to let it fall into such disrepair, probably in this condition because it is privately owned. Maybe the government needs to look into purchasing what should be a National Treasure.
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