Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

In celebration of Memorial Day, we drove to Ft. Gibson, OK this morning, specifically, to the Fort Gibson National Cemetery. The first burial at the cemetery occured in 1831; the cemetery was designated a national cemetery in 1868.

Grave of Vivia ThomasOne of the most unusual persons buried at Fort Gibson is Vivia Thomas. From the Cemetery's website:

One of the most interesting stories associated with Fort Gibson National Cemetery is the tale of Vivia Thomas. Legend has it this high-spirited daughter of a wealthy Boston family met and fell in love with a handsome young lieutenant at a ball following the Civil War. After several months of courtship, they announced their engagement, but shortly before the wedding he left, leaving only a note that he desired to go West in search of adventure. Broken-hearted and bitter over the abandonment, Thomas went in search of her lover. After learning that he was stationed at Fort Gibson, she set off on a journey of revenge. She cut her hair, dressed in men’s clothing and joined the Army. The disguise worked, as the former fiancĂ© did not recognize her. One night as he was returning from a visit with his Native American girlfriend, she ambushed and killed him. Despite an intense investigation, the murder went undiscovered. However, Thomas grew remorseful and began to visit his grave late at night. Eventually she contracted pneumonia from the continued exposure to the cold and collapsed near his grave, dying a few days later. Rather than condemning her actions, her army colleagues were so impressed with her courage in coming alone to the frontier and carrying out a successful disguise that they awarded her a place of honor for burial in the officer’s circle.

Thank you to all the veteran's and current service men and women who faithfully serve/served our country.

"Freedom isn't free." (Inscription on the Korean War Memorial, Washington DC)

Fort Gibson National Cemetary (01)
Fort Gibson National Cemetary (05)

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