SALT LAKE CITY - A small American Flag waves in the light breeze
through the Fort Douglas cemetery hidden in the back corner of
downtown Salt Lake City. Rows of white headstones line from one end
of the black iron fence to the other. The cemetery is the resting
place for over 1,300 Prisoners of War, service members who served at
Fort Steven A. Douglas and their family members.
An American Flag dances in the breeze in the Fort Douglas cemetery
in Salt Lake City, June 12, 2014. Locals are encouraged to visit the
four acres of land dedicated to fallen service members, their
families and prisoners of war.
(U.S. Army photo by Spc. James Harvie)
“It is peaceful, it is well taken care of, it is
respected by the people who use it, it's very important not
only to the military community, but it is important to the
the community at large here in the Salt Lake valley,” said
Su Richards, the research archivist at the Fort Douglas
Military Museum. “It's a small cemetery, limited occupancy,
but it is one that is well visited and well taken care of,
and one that if you are in Salt Lake, it is a place to come
The first recorded burial in the Fort Douglas
cemetery was in the winter of 1862 and it was then actively
used throughout the Civil War and both World Wars. Although
it is a closed cemetery today, the four acres of land is
still maintained and preserved for visitors.
“The significance of the cemetery is it is
a sacred place for soldiers and their families who have
passed away while they were stationed here or if they have
lived here before and want to come back to be buried,”
The community is welcome to visit the
cemetery, located on the intersection of Tabby Lane and
Chipeta Way. The museum hosts an interactive experience with
history where role-players portray local heroes and answer
questions about members buried there. The event is an
opportunity for children to practice cemetery behavior and
reverence the deceased. Children are given a list of several
graves they can locate throughout the grounds, introducing
them to the monuments and notable burials.
include a Memorial Day march from Fort Douglas to the
cemetery, as well as a European Veterans Day observance
ceremony. Richards hopes that events like these will promote
the idea that cemeteries are not scary, but rather a place
of reverence and respect for those who passed before us.
Visitors do not need to wait for a special event to see
this final resting place for so many local heroes, as
families and people from the community can often be seen
strolling the peaceful grounds or even hosting a family
picnic. On a summer day, birds fly from one headstone to
another and cicadas buzz from the tree tops making this
hidden historical gem a perfect place for a little quiet
time with the family.
Additional information about
events can be found at the
Douglas Military Museum site.
By U.S. Army Spc. Kayla Benson
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