CDR Carl B. Forkner, Ph.D., CDR, USN(Ret)
This August, we took a trip to Illinois to visit family for a wedding and two birthdays. It was a great 10 days, filled with family, fun, and historic sites. One of the days included a visit to Lincoln’s Tomb in Oak Ridge Cemetery. On the cemetery grounds also stand memorials to Illinois patriots who fought during many conflicts, both historic and contemporary. Although I did not have the time to transit the entire cemetery, I was able to capture some of the major memorials, as well as a few minor ones. I share them here…
The featured photo is the drive into the Oak Ridge Cemetery at the entrance closest to Lincoln’s Tomb. Although we went there first–as it was the main objective of the visit that day–I also had time to visit some of the Veterans memorials at the main entrance to the cemetery and a few near Lincoln’s Tomb.
The Spanish-American War
One of the dedicated sections in the cemetery contains the remains of Illinois patriots who fought in the Spanish-American War. It is not marked with a large marquis or obvious sign, but I was intrigued by a cannon that stood at the gravesite. The photo mosaic below is what I found in the dedicated section.
World War I
I did not have time to explore enough and find a dedicated area for World War I; however, a memorial marker placed by the American Legion was near the same Veterans area as the Spanish-American War gravesite. Photo or the memorial appears below:
World War II
The World War II Memorial was the first one that I saw when I was near the main gate to the cemetery. It is a beautiful memorial, designed with European Theater and Pacific Theater timelines that converge in a central location. It is paved with bricks inscribed with memorials to specific Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen, and Coast Guardsmen who fought in World War II. The two videos below show the timelines:
The slideshow below shows many of the inscriptions on the memorial:
The Korean War Memorial was two-fold. First, an impressive memorial with a large bell in the center with a carillon that chimed the various services’ songs and other time-specific music. See the slideshow below:
Associated with and nearby the Korean Conflict Memorial is a memorial dedicated to those who fought at one of the most vicious battles in modern history–the Chosin Reservoir:
Perhaps the most impressive of the War Memorials was the one dedicated to those Illinois patriots who served in Vietnam. It is a wonderful, fitting tribute to Illinois Vietnam Veterans and had much the same introspective effect as standing at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC:
One of the beautiful things about America is that there are many places that provide insights into our short history as a nation. This was a nice, albeit solemn, visit to those who passed before–those patriots who fought for our great nation and those who gave the last full measure of devotion.
May God Bless our Veterans, their families, and may God Bless the United States of America!
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Semper Fortis, Semper Fidelis, Semper Paratus, Hooah, and Aim High!