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Forest Hill Cemetery

The Forest Hill Cemetery is divided into sections by roads and paths. We started by the Union Soldiers' Rest, where a lot of the Union soldiers are buried. All the tombstones look alike. A larger headstone is standing in the middle. We all thought it was a general, or someone important, but it was for all those kids whose dads went off to war. We walked down to the Confederate Soldiers' Rest, and it looked about the same.

In the Jewish part of the cemetery, the headstones had Hebrew inscribed on them. Some had little stones or pebbles on top. Anna's mom said it is a sign of respect.

Families were buried either under the same stone or really close. I think that is very good and I hope to do that, too. One student commented that it was kind of weird that we were walking over bodies. I found it peaceful. There also were Hmong headstones with beautiful color laser etchings of mountains, lakes, and other scenes from nature on the backs of the stones. There were beautiful flowers around these recent graves. Some had been knocked over by the wind, so we fixed them.

When Forest Hill Cemetery was built it was thought that cemeteries should perform double duty as parks. So Forest Hill is a park, too.

Cemeteries are naturally what we think of as spooky or haunted, scary places where we bury our dead. But almost none of that is true. The part that about a place to bury our dead is right, but a lot of people don't think of it as burying someone who is dead. Some think the person has moved on, or some people think in terms of reincarnation.

The headstones are very important. Symbols on headstones can mean things. For instance, a hand pointing up means immortality, and there are a lot more symbols where that came from.

I learned that lots of people even use culture when they died. I did not know that people use candles and stars in their culture.
--Juan Pablo