I was walking among the grave markers searching for the names of the men who fought in the Battle of the Blue 150 years ago this month, the American Civil War. The Gage Monument, erected by a soldier for his band of brothers, was off to my left several yards. It stands sentinel in front of the mass grave of men killed in action. The figure on top, a Union soldier at parade rest, watches the sunset forever.
It was a brilliant Fall day. The grass yet green, the leaves golden and swirling in the air or hastened by the wind across the streets. I squinted to read the name on the stone, a name softened by time and the elements. A movement caught my eye, off to my left. Someone visiting a relative's grave no doubt. But there was no one there.
It was a wisp, a sweeping upward from the ground. Brief and beautiful, this mist rose and was gone, dissipated, faded, as the edges of memory fade.
I saw them rise.
The thought came and went as quickly as the vision.
And why should their souls not rise together as we come together to remember them? Why should the broken circle not be connected once more as soldiers who came after honor their sacrifices?
Yes, I saw them rise.