Asection at the Mountain View Cemetery is set aside for members of the Grand Army of the Republic, or put more plainly, veterans of the Union forces in the American Civil War (1861–1865). The GAR was the first veterans' organization in the United States, and was one of the first advocacy groups supporting voting rights for black veterans.
This past weekend after the Oakland Urban Paths walk with geologist Andrew Alden, I stopped by Mountain View Cemetery to do some more exploring and take some new pictures for the Taphophile Tragics meme. I knew that Mountain View Cemetery had a section for Union veterans of the Civil War, but I'd never seen it except at a distance, so that was my goal.
The plot was set aside for Union veterans in 1880 and burials began that fall. In 1893 the GAR dedicated a monument topped with shroud-draped urn (a symbol dating back to Roman times). Just in time for Memorial Day 1897, the plot was given a makeover, ringing it with 750 cannonballs and placing howitzers at the corners. The GAR organization was dissolved in 1956 when the last member died, and as time will do, things slowly wore down after that.
Then in 2003, Eric Kos and Dennis Evanosky gave it another makeover. Working with the cemetery staff and the Department of Veterans Affairs, they mapped the plot and replaced the broken and missing stones. Even the howitzers were restored.
See other Taphophile Tragic entries from around the world.