Algernon Visits Green-Wood Cemetery

Algernon wanted to spend some time thinking about Memorial Day this year because war and death and freedom aren't always easy to understand. So he headed off to Green-Wood Cemetery to visit a friend who could help him out.

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The flying buttresses at the entrance to the cemetery made Algernon wonder: can something be beautiful and sad at the same time?

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Algernon was quiet as he started up Battle Avenue. Did you know that the first battle fought after the signing of the Declaration of Independence was fought in Brooklyn

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While Algernon was flying towards the Civil War Lot, he tried recalling the different names of the Civil War, but gave up. He was overwhelmed by the number of headstones.

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The Civil War Lot was quiet except for the flags flapping by the headstones of people that fought in the war. He thought about the reasons for the Civil War and his favorite line from the Declaration of Independence: "all men are created equal." This raised a big question in his mind: if all men are created equal, then why is there war?

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Even though Memorial Day was created to remember people that have died in service to our nation, Algernon couldn't help stopping by the beautiful headstones of everyday people that had died serving other everyday people.

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Algernon made his way to the Altar to Liberty to meet his friend. Standing on the altar, lost in thought, he heard a strong but gentle, familiar voice, "Come sit on my shoulder, old friend." Algernon smiled and flew up to perch on Minerva.

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"If all men are created equal, then why is there war, Minerva?" The Goddess of Wisdom spoke softly and kindly, "No matter the time or place, war is never easy to understand. But friendship is. War happens because people forget their commonality with one another. Friendship is remembering our commonality with one another. War happens because people forget their equality with one another. Friendship is remembering our equality with one another. War happens because we allow our differences to divide us. Friendship is remembering that our differences enrich us."

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Did you know that Minerva salutes and faces her friend, The Statue of Liberty? Did you know that The Statue of Liberty was a gift from France to America and that the two nations were called "sisters?"

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As Algernon paused to reflect on Minerva's words, a simple theory distilled in his heart:

if time and distance come between friends, nothing can separate them if they keep each other in sight and remember to wave.

Watching visitors of the deceased arrive at the cemetery helped him realize that friendship and love transcend time and space. Remembering others that serve the Greater Good will always be important.

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And that's why on his way out, Algernon stopped at the entrance gate to make friends with some feral monks: the parrots of Green-Wood Cemetery.

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Green-Wood Cemetery
500 25th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11232
718-768-7300
www.green-wood.com