Five Famous and Historical Gravestones and Memorials To Visit
5 Places To Visit and Remember.
Imagine Peace Circle. Every year hundreds of thousands of John Lennon fans visit a round, in-laid mosaic known as the Imagine Peace Circle in New York City, which was created in honor of probably the world's most popular modern musician and one of the greatest song writers that ever lived. The mosaic was a gift from the city of Florence and created in the style of traditional Portuguese pavement. It's located on a plot of land in Central Park West, directly across from the Dakotas where John Lennon lived the last years of his life before he was murdered. The Imagine Peace Circle is situated in a memorial park which is formally called Garden of Peace, but is more affectionately known to fans as Strawberry Fields. The land was purchased by his widow, Yoko Ono, and named thus. The memorial itself was designed by Bruce Kelley, Central Park Conservancy's chief architect. It was dedicated to John Lennon's memory on what would have been his 45th birthday, October 9th, 1985. I haven't room here to describe the whole place in more detail, but it's a veritable Mecca for anyone who loves the Beatles and John Lennon's work. Just go.
Buddy Holly Memorial. In downtown Lubbock, Tx you'll find a bronze statue immortalizing the music legend, Buddy Holly, the dude who started it all and went down in a plane on February 3, 1959. The monument is just outside the Buddy Holly Museum on Crickets Avenue, you can't miss it. It was sculpted by artist Grant Speed in 1980, and oddly enough, is more interesting than Holly's actual grave site. For a town that touts itself as the home of one rock's greatest icons and hosts a yearly festival that attracts visitors from all over the world, his burial plot isn't very much to look at. We had a hard time finding it at the old Lubbock Cemetery the last time we were there. The grave markers in the cemetery as well as Buddy Holly's can be easily overlooked, and the whole place is far shabbier than one might expect. The city of Lubbock tore down the house Buddy Holly lived in, figure that one out, and the statue has been vandalized over the years and has undergone extensive restoration. As great and influential as Holly was, I myself wouldn't make a special trip out to Lubbock. But if you simply must pass through West Texas, then it's worth a look-see. While you're there, you can check out an equally and maybe even more popular spot with the locals. If you exit the rear of the cemetery and head south, the road winds around to a deserted area known as Hell's Gate which sports an old railroad bridge that is supposed to haunted. For real. If you're looking for some after-hours entertainment, you're bound to find some unusual people and partying going on out there.
Billy the Kid's Grave Site. While you're heading west, you might enjoy taking a break to see the grave of Billy the Kid in nearby Ft. Sumner, NM on your way to Albuquerque. Like Lubbock, they have one local hero and it's the only point of interest for miles, so hey, you might as well check it out while you're in town. It's located on Rt. 212, about 3 or 4 miles south of State Highway 60. You might ask, why is Billy the Kid's grave inside a big cage? Do they have a little problem with the undead in New Mexico, something we don't know about? Now that would be entertaining. But, no, the cage is there to prevent close access, as The Kid's head stone has been a target for theft and vandalism since he died in 1881. The foot stone alone was stolen twice since 1950, and besides being inside a cage, it's also shackled to the ground. Nevertheless, in June of last year vandals broke into the enclosure anyway and knocked it over. Hey, I told you there wasn't much to do in this place.
Underwater Memorial to the Tazacorte Martyrs. Had enough of the American Outback and ready for something a bit more exciting? Well, get your C-card up to date and head out to the Canary Islands for a little scuba diving adventure. Off La Palma Isle there's a place called Malpique, which is the site of an ocean massacre that occurred on July 17, 1570. A group of forty Jesuit missionaries were sailing from Portugal to Brazil. They intended to make a stop at Santa Cruz de la Palma to rest, but conditions forced them to land at Puerto de Tazacorte instead. After visiting with friends there, they tried again to sail on to Santa Cruz. The story never says what exactly was in Santa Cruz that was so interesting. They could have chilled in Tazacorte where everything was cool and groovy, and continued on to Brazil when conditions were better. They had been warned of pirates in the area, and legend has it that one of the monks had a premonition of being 86'd while performing a mass at the local chapel. It shook him up so badly he left teeth marks on the chalice. Unfortunately, it wasn't bad enough that whoever was heading up this disaster chose to ignore the feedback and set sail anyway. The monks never made it to Santa Cruz. After two days they were captured by French pirates who tortured and dismembered all forty and pitched them over the side. Today there is an underwater memorial to mark the place where the famous Tazacorte martyrs met their fate. 60 feet below there are forty stone crosses, one for each monk who died.The memorial was placed in 2000, and it's supposedly an easy dive, even for a newbee. I can't think of a more creepy or beautiful place to visit.
Fairview Lawn Cemetery, Halifax, Nova Scotia. While we're on the subject of watery demises, another historical spot to visit is a Canadian cemetery where one hundred and twenty-one of the people who died on the Titanic were buried. Three long lines of black granite markers are laid out in graceful, sloping lines across rolling grounds that seem to create the outline of the hull of a ship. More victims of the Titanic are intered here than in any other place in the world. What happened after the ship sank? Before the survivors arrived in New York, four ships left Halifax to search the ocean for bodies, each carrying a supply of coffins, an undertaker, a chaplain, and plenty of ice. There were so many that they ran out of embalming fluid and many had to be buried at sea. Of the 328 bodies recovered, 209 came back to a temporary morgue at the Naval Dockyard in Halifax. Shockingly, there were only 59 victims of the Titanic that were ever actually shipped by train back to their families. 121 were then sent to Fairview Lawn Cemetery; 10 were buried in the Baron de Hirsch Jewish Cemetery, and 19 are in the Mt. Olive Catholic Cemetery. Most of the head stones were paid for by the White Star Line, and placed in the cemetery the fall of 1912. As you can imagine, since the release of James Cameron's movie, “The Titanic,” Fairview Cemetary has become a popular tourist attraction.
Visiting locations like these can add to your personal attachment of the history surrounding these places and the ones associated with them. Please leave a comment below. What are some of your favorite locations you have been to?