One of our favorite places to go for a walk is at the Stones River National Battlefield. It always provides a quiet and thoughtful experience as we consider the many soldiers that fought here during the American Civil War. Unlike other battlefields that have been preserved, this one has kept the natural wildness of the trees and grasses which is really beautiful.
The battle fought here was one of the bloodiest of the war. Thousands of lives were lost here. The Union won this battle, but only barely, and it proved to be a major turning point in the war. At this point in the war, the Confederates were winning and the Union had suffered some terrible defeats.
Against the odds however, the Union won the battle clearing a path to continue through the South. President Lincoln said that had the Union lost this battle, they most certainly would have lost the war.
It is always humbling to walk through the battlefield and think about this war that forever changed our country and consider the effects of it that we still face today. The cost of persevering the unity of the country was incredibly high, and yet we don’t seem to be any more united as a people as we were then.
We walked through the battlefield and ended up at the national cemetery of this historic battle. We were met with hundreds of wreaths adorning the headstones of the cemetery. Every year, Wreaths Across America lead fundraising programs to put wreaths on every headstone in every national cemetery as a way to honor those who have given everything in the service of the country.
It was a powerful moment seeing the rows and rows of wreaths laid with gratitude to honor those who served. To think about the cemeteries across the country with their own wreaths really gave a powerful image of the bravery of those who died, and the legacy they left behind.
I felt so grateful that the wreaths were still there around the cemetery and that we happened upon them on our walk. It was a humbling and moving experience to see so many honored for their sacrifice, and knowing that they are working to have one placed on every headstone. I went home and got online to buy a wreath and support the movement so that next year, one more soldier is honored with a wreath.
If you would like to learn more about the Stones River National Battlefield and Cemetery, you may be interested in these:
Thank you for joining me on a walk through the national battlefield and cemetery. May we always remember those that gave us so much.