we could find in each man's sorrow and suffering
enough to disarm all hostility."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
|Virginia Declaration of Rights|
SECTION I. That all men are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety."
John Parke Custis (1754–1781) married Eleanor Calvert on February 3, 1774. They purchase and move to Abingdon Plantation. This plantation is on Arlington Heights Virginia. In the future this plantation will overlook The District of Columbia; home of the the capital of the United State of America. John Custis is the son of Martha Washington and the adopted son of George Washington. This plantation along with George Washington’s papers are inherited by his daughter Mary Anna Randolph Custis who married Robert E. Lee.
At the outbreak of the American Civil War or as the Southern State prefer to call it “The War Between the States”, Robert E. Lee is offered Command of all the Union Forces by Abraham Lincoln. Robert E. Lee declines the offer and resigns his commission. He becomes a military advisor to newly formed Confederate State of America.
May 1861 Union Forces capture Arlington Heights to prevents its being used by Confederate
forces to fire on Washington D.C. Brig. Gen. Montgomery C. Meigs, quartermaster general for the Union Forces, uses the newly capture plantation to create a “Potters Field” to bury the unclaimed dead of the Union Forces. Over the next decade he continues to see that the plantation is used as an honored burial ground to insure that the Lee’s again never enjoy the use of their home.
|Montgomery C. Meigs|
Out of one man's sense of loyalty and another one's sense of duty and enmity a sacred place is created for the nation they both loved
Maybe Abraham Lincoln stated it best when he dedicated another military cemetery.
It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
... and I must add I have hope that President Lincoln was addressing the great loss on either side of the Mason Dixon line; both parties paid a terrible price for this conclusion,
"By the end of 1901 all the Confederate soldiers buried in the national cemeteries at Alexandria, Virginia, and at the Soldiers' Home in Washington were brought together with the soldiers buried at Arlington and reinterred in the Confederate section. Among the 482 persons buried there are 46 officers, 351 enlisted men, 58 wives, 15 southern civilians, and 12 unknowns. They are buried in concentric circles around the Confederate Monument, ...."