We will visit the National Cemetery on our history tour scheduled for July 16. This might be helpful material for those attending. For information call 630-629-4516.
Abraham Lincoln founded the National Cemetery System for veterans in 1862 and 14 cemeteries were prepared during the Civil War. There are ten national cemeteries in Illinois including the Confederate Mound which we have visited on some of our history tours. Last year 8.1 million people visited national cemeteries.
The Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery is some 50 miles south of Chicago on part of the former Joliet Army Ammunition Plant. The nearest town is Elwood, IL. It is the 117th national cemetery and was dedicated on October 3, 1999. The cemetery contains 982 acres making it the third largest is size. The largest one is in Calverton, N.Y. and contains 1,045 acres. Arlington has 624 acres. When our cemetery is fully developed it will provide 400,000 burial spaces.
The Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery has one Medal of Honor soldier. He is First Sergeant Theodore Hyatt (Civil War) Company D, 127the Illinois Infantry, 2nd Division, 15th Army Corps, Battle of Vicksburg, May 22, 1863. He is in Section 1, Grave 1613. The one person I know is Donald A. Penn who died at the Scottish Home. He is in Section G but we were unable to find his grave on a recent visit because of construction in the area. Don’s American flag and a book about his squadron are on display in our museum.
The cemetery already contains 23,000 veterans and they conduct 2,000 funerals a year. The number of veterans who died in 2010 is placed at 651,000 and 111,800 of them are buried in national cemeteries. That number is expected to increase each year until 2013.
In one of the Administrative offices the following poem is displayed.
A CONFEDERATE SOLDIER'S PRAYER
Author Unknown, (Attributed to a battle weary C.S.A soldier near the end of the war)
I asked God for strength, that I might achieve;
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health, that I might do greater things;
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy;
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men;
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life;
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am among all men most richly blessed.