A New (Deal) place to rest

During the New Deal, the government created federal work programs designed to help American citizens back on their feet in a time where already-existing jobs were scarce.

One of the projects in rural Virginia renovated and polished the Culpeper National Cemetery. The project included realigning and raising tombstones, inserting a new flag pole, and constructing an $8,000 shelter on site to serve as a garage, rest area, and storage area. 1

Because this site is located in a rural area within thirty minutes of my home, I believed it would be the safest site to visit during this time of social distancing. But despite its proximity to my home, I had no idea the site existed, and it was moving.

When I arrived on site, men in uniform stood under the roof of the garage/toolshed/rest area. I took photos of the site from a distance, quietly, hoping not to disturb or disrespect the small event occurring.

I immediately noticed the perfect lines formed by the headstones, changing with every perspective, but still perfect from every angle. Typically the varying sizes and shapes of headstones in cemeteries create imperfect lines, but the patterns created in the 1930s made this cemetery a work of art.

Though I only spent a few moments here capturing the beautiful sight, I found it peaceful and moving, and I feel that the updates made during the New Deal era successfully honor all those buried here.

  1. https://livingnewdeal.org/projects/culpeper-national-cemetery-improvements-culpeper-va/

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