As you drive down the winding roads of Elwood, Illinois, you may come across a serene and solemn place that pays tribute to those who have served our country. This is the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, a final resting place for thousands of brave men and women who have sacrificed their lives for the freedom we enjoy today.
Established in 1999, this cemetery spans over 982 acres and serves as a burial ground for veterans from all branches of the military. The cemetery’s name honors one of America’s greatest presidents, Abraham Lincoln, who led our nation through one of its most challenging times.
As you walk through the grounds, you’ll see countless headstones adorned with American flags and other symbols that pay homage to these heroes’ service and sacrifice.
A Brief History of the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery
Get ready to discover the fascinating history of this final resting place for American heroes.
The Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery was established in 1999 as a way to honor and provide burial space for veterans in the Midwest region of the United States. It’s located in Elwood, Illinois, on 982 acres of land that were previously used as farmland.
The cemetery is named after President Abraham Lincoln, who was instrumental in establishing national cemeteries during his presidency. The first soldier interred at the cemetery was Army Staff Sergeant Lincoln Hollinsaid, who served in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm and passed away on October 1, 1999.
Since then, over 80,000 veterans and their eligible family members have been laid to rest at this sacred site.
In addition to providing a final resting place for veterans, the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery also serves as a reminder of the sacrifices made by those who have served our country. Visitors can pay their respects at memorials dedicated to various wars and conflicts throughout history, including World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm/Desert Shield. The cemetery also hosts events throughout the year to honor veterans and educate the public about their service.
Exploring the Grounds and Memorials
While strolling through the beautiful grounds, you’ll come across a variety of memorials that honor the sacrifices made by our nation’s heroes.
One of these is the Memorial Walkway, a brick pathway lined with trees that leads visitors to an impressive stone monument. The monument features a bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln and is inscribed with the words ‘In memory of those who served our country in war and peace.’ It serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of honoring those who have fought for our freedoms.
Another notable memorial at the cemetery is the Committal Shelter. This stunning structure was designed to provide families with a peaceful and dignified setting to say their final goodbyes to their loved ones. The shelter features large windows that offer views of the surrounding landscape, creating a serene atmosphere for mourners to reflect on their loss.
Additionally, there are several smaller memorials scattered throughout the grounds that pay tribute to specific groups such as prisoners of war or veterans from particular wars.
As you make your way around the cemetery, take note of some other unique features such as the Avenue of Flags, which displays flags from each state and territory in America, or perhaps pause at one of numerous benches placed throughout the grounds for quiet reflection.
No matter where you go within this sacred space, it’s impossible not to feel moved by its beauty and significance. Visiting Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery is truly an experience unlike any other – one that will leave you feeling grateful for all those who have served our country with honor and bravery.
Honoring the Heroes: Stories of Those Laid to Rest
Let’s hear the stories of some of the brave heroes who rest peacefully at this sacred site.
One such hero is Sergeant First Class Jared C. Monti, a recipient of the Medal of Honor for his selfless actions during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. In 2006, while under heavy enemy fire, Monti repeatedly exposed himself to danger in order to save and evacuate wounded members of his unit. He ultimately sacrificed his own life in an attempt to rescue a fellow soldier.
Another hero laid to rest here is Private First Class Milton Lee Olive III, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Vietnam War. In 1965, Olive smothered a live grenade with his body in order to protect other members of his platoon from its blast. His courageous act saved their lives but cost him his own.
Finally, we remember Staff Sergeant Michael H. Simpson, who lost his life during combat operations in Afghanistan in 2013. Simpson served multiple tours overseas and was known for putting others before himself both on and off duty. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart for his valor and service.
These are just a few examples of the countless heroes buried at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery – men and women who gave everything they had in defense of our freedom and way of life. Their stories serve as a reminder that true bravery knows no bounds and that we must never forget those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
Congratulations on exploring the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery! You’ve learned about the rich history of this sacred ground and paid your respects to the brave men and women who gave their lives in service to our country.
As you leave, remember the words of John F. Kennedy: “A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.” The memorials and monuments at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery serve as a testament to our nation’s commitment to honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
Take with you not only memories of this beautiful cemetery, but also a deep appreciation for all those who have served our country with valor and courage.
Let us never forget their sacrifices and let us always honor them in both word and deed.