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Posts Tagged ‘laurel wreath’

Wexler (2)

Wexler

We spent last weekend at an event in Saline, Michigan, and on the way back, we stopped at some rural Ohio cemeteries.  We stumbled by accident over the Beth Shalom Cemetery in Oregon, Ohio. Anyone who’s been following this blog for any length of time knows of my fondness for memorials that include a portrait of the deceased, and my not-so-infrequent rants abut the destruction of porcelain portraits. Beth Shalom Cemetery has a large number of portraits, and I only noticed two empty spaces where portraits should have been but were missing. So over the next few weeks, I am happy to report that you will be seeing a lot more portraits on here. (And some new cemeteries in general.)

Simon (2)

Simon

Wexler (10)

Wexler (3)

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Pope

Otis Monument

As I’ve written before, wreaths, particularly laurel wreaths, often symbolize victory over death in the form of eternal life. There is probably nowhere else in Cleveland with as many artistic renderings of laurel wreaths as the grande dame of the forest city’s cemeteries, Lake View.

100_9365

100_9381

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New York state monument

This monument to the soldiers of New York state at the Battle of Gettysburg stands inside the National Cemetery, making it an interesting combination of cenotaph (as not everyone being honored is buried nearby) and mass funerary monument (since some of those men most undoubtedly were killed at Gettysburg and lie within site of the monument). The symbol at the very top is also a melding of multiple meanings.

New York state monument (2)

Towering high above the slight hills of the cemetery and nearly alone on this section of landscape (save the Solder’s National Monument), a woman clothed in classical garb holds out a laurel wreath as if to crown the brow of an invisible New York soldier before her. Laurel wreaths outside of the cemetery have long been a sign of victory, and so seem a fitting tribute to those New York soldiers who helped bring this important victory to the Union. In the cemetery, laurel wreaths signify not victory at war or competition, but of the soul over death, as well as immortality. This monument braids together multiple meanings by its placement inside another place of dual purposes: a cemetery that was once a battlefield.

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