Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Valley of Peace

I have a love of history. Not just the history that you read about in books but real history of ordinary people. That is why I find myself wandering the cemeteries and graveyards, lost in thought. I'm wondering what the lives associated with all those markers must have been like. You can tell a lot about an area or time period just by slowing down and reading the granite and marble carvings that fill our memorial parks. To view the graves of the youth that served their country in a time of war and gave everything they had can bring a tear to your eye. 
Just the other day, the cold snap ended and the temperature rose. This caused the snow to melt at an alarming rate. The fog was so thick and I found myself in an old cemetery, with no camera! The old statues in the fog gave me goose bumps. I didn't want to leave. I could almost hear the spirits speaking to me, trying to tell me their stories. Stories of real people that built this country, whatever small part it might have been.
I've lightly touched the haunting cemeteries of New Orleans and after viewing the area on Google Maps, I am looking forward to spending much more time getting to know the people that lived in that city in the past.
Speaking of Google Maps, I found this article and had to pass it on to you. Imagine the stories almost piled into this place....

When you see Wadi us-Salaam, which means “Valley of Peace,” on Google Maps, you’ll have no idea what it is. From a distance, it looks like a bustling, sprawling city in Iraq, full of neighborhoods and office buildings. It covers more than 1,485 acres, which is about the size of a small town in the US. However, when you zoom in a little closer (and do some research), you’ll realize it’s definitely not a city. Although it does have the people…
People have been buried in the cemetery for over 1,400 years, resulting in literally millions of bodies there. It’s estimated that over 500,000 additional bodies are buried here each year.
During the Iraq war in 2003, fighters in the Iraqi militia frequently used the cemetery to hide in, ambushing enemies. They knew the winding lanes and mausoleums better than anyone else. Since the wars and violence, the graveyard has expanded massively.
I've seen my share of large cemeteries, but this one is astounding.


jaz@octoberfarm said...

omg...i had no idea!

Jim said...

Imagine trying to find a specific grave there! Stew, aren't you lucky there is not one of these in Michigan!
What an incredible place.

MorningAJ said...

I can't imagine visiting that. It's huge. How do people find their way around? I suppose you'd get to know it, like a new town or village, but it must be very strange at first. And everyone is so close together. Completely different from what I'm used to.

Stew Adams said...

Different is good, as far as I'm concerned. I enjoy learning different cultures from what I've grown to know.