A Hallow Battlefield - Praying for our Victorious Dead
Kennesaw Mountain, National Battlefield Park, Georgia
Yesterday was a beautiful February, pre-spring day, in Georgia; sunny and 52 degrees, my wife and I decided to take our dog to Kennesaw Mountain for a hike.
The steady green slope and granite climb up to 1800 feet, marked one of the final engagements of the Atlanta Campaign during the American Civil War. Although a peaceful day, in 1864 this mountain would have been littered with wounded and deceased soldiers, soaked with blood, covered in splintered Georgia pine, and hailed with a storm of hot led.
As a West Point graduate, it is a remarkable place to be where each Union and Confederate commanding officers, including each of their combined seven Corps commanders, were fellow graduates of the Long Gray Line. Not to mention the many field and company grade officers, on both sides, who were also alumni of the academy.
On one of the monuments, where the before-mentioned general officers were listed, I tapped my class ring three times, illustrating my remembrance, gratitude for their service, and continued lineage through myself and my classmates. Each class ring contains gold from previous classes, melted down and mixed for future molds. The same gold from 1864 that resides on my right ring-finger had returned to Kennesaw Mountain.
The subtleties are solemn and profound, but they are meaningless. Displaying monuments, tapping my ring to illustrate lineage and gratitude, lighting candles and bringing flowers during Veterans and Memorial Day, and organizing Civil War reenactments are only celebrations and don't benefit the dead. The suffering souls of the men who died on that mountain in June, 1864, need our prayers.
Gregorian masses on the anniversary of the battle and All Souls Day, Eucharistic Processions, Holy Rosaries said by the Church Militant, and intercessions by the Church Triumphant, are the devotions needed to beseech the Lord to provide the necessary graces to forgive and relieve the souls of their suffering and grant them entrance into Heaven.
I'm thankful that this inherent truth became clear to me while hiking and encouraged me to grab my Holy Rosaries and offer a special intention, through the Immaculate Heart, for the suffering souls of Kennesaw Mountain.
Like visiting a cemetery, I encourage you to pray the Holy Rosary the next time you visit a historical battlefield and beseech the Lord to relieve our Victorious Dead of their suffering and welcome them home. Remembering the dead is not enough.
In Christ Crucified and the Most Victorious Heart of Jesus.