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National Cemetery Administration


History: NCA History Blog

NCA History Program  /  NCA History Blog

NCA historians blog about current events, cemeteries, preservation projects, headstones and monuments, Memorial Day, notable persons and much more. Read our latest blog posts or view the list below.

Latest Blog Posts

French Cross at Cypress Hills National Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York. The granite monument was installed at the burial site of the 25 French sailors who died from influenza during a port call at the end of World War I. (National Cemetery Administration)

French Cross at Cypress Hills National Cemetery in Brooklyn

NCA History Program

The 25 French sailors buried here are one of earlier instances of allied forces being buried in a national cemetery. It is also remarkable in that all of the sailors died from the same cause — they fell victim to the Spanish Flu which was sweeping the nation, and the world, in 1918–1919.

Tablet at Mobile National Cemetery inscribed with the opening stanza of the 1850 poem 'Bivouac of the Dead' by Theodore O'Hara. The plaque bearing O'Hara's timeless lament to soldiers lost in battle has been installed at national cemeteries throughout the VA system. (Library of Congress)

"Bivouac of the Dead" Tablet

Emme Richards
Virtual Student Federal Service
Intern, VA History Office

Originally written to honor the Kentucky volunteers who died in the Mexican War (1846–1848), Theodore O'Hara's elegiac poem, "Bivouac of the Dead," now serves as a literary memorial to all lives lost in service to the nation.

Ceremony dedicating the Bennington monument at Fort Rosecrans, overlooking San Diego harbor, January 7, 1908. The cruiser USS Charleston is visible in the background right. More than 2,500 people attended the dedication. (Naval Heritage and History Command)

USS Bennington Monument and Grave Plot

Richard Hulver, Ph.D.
NCA Historian

The USS Bennington explosion was among the deadliest peacetime accidents in U.S. Navy history and claimed more lives than the Navy had lost in the nation's most recent conflict, the Spanish-American War. A granite monument was established to honor those lost in the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.

Featured Blog Post

Nimitz Burial Plot at Golden Gate National Cemetery

The gravesites of Chester W. Nimitz, Raymond A. Spruance, Richmond K. Turner, and Charles A. Lockwood, who were friends for over 40 years, perfectly aligned in the first row along the street bearing the name Nimitz Drive at Golden Gate National Cemetery. The sentiment behind the burials emphasizes the symbolic power of comradeship of service members even after death in national cemeteries. Read more »

Visit the memorial pages of four of the Navy's most influential leaders in the Pacific theater during World War II.

Chester Nimitz
U.S. Navy
Fleet Admiral

Memorial Page »
Raymond Spruance
U.S. Navy

Memorial Page »
Richmond Turner
U.S. Navy

Memorial Page »
Charles Lockwood
U.S. Navy
Vice Admiral

Memorial Page »

List of NCA History Blog Posts

2023: NCA History Blog posts
Blog Post Date
NCA Historic Objects: Civil War 6×6 Unknown Grave Markers August 31, 2023
NCA Historic Objects: Edmund Whitman's 1869 Report on Reburying Union Dead in National Cemeteries June 15, 2023
NCA Historic Objects: ​The Veterans Legacy Memorial May 23, 2023
NCA Historic Objects: ​Congressional Cemetery Cenotaphs May 11, 2023
George Ford – Veteran and National Cemetery Superintendent April 25, 2023
NCA Historic Objects: Dorothea Dix's Monument to Union Soldiers March 7, 2023
NCA Historic Objects: ​Funeral Ceremony for Vietnam Unknown February 3, 2023
2022: NCA History Blog posts
Blog Post Date
NCA Historic Objects: Floor Plan of VA's Historic Indoor Columbarium December 15, 2022
NCA Historic Objects: National Cemetery Superintendent's Disability Certificate December 2, 2022
NCA Historic Objects: Dayton's "Underground Path of Death" September 15, 2022
NCA Historic Objects: National POW/MIA Memorial September 8, 2022
NCA Historic Objects: President Clinton's Fiftieth Anniversary of V-J Day Speech at the NMCP September 1, 2022
NCA Historic Objects: President Zachary Taylor's Well-Traveled Remains July 7, 2022
NCA Historic Objects: U.S. Colored Troops Burial Petition June 23, 2022
NCA Historic Objects: National Cemetery "General" Headstone May 26, 2022
NCA Historic Objects: National Cemetery Gateway Arch May 11, 2022
NCA Historic Objects: The Washington Arsenal Monument March 30, 2022
NCA Historic Objects: The "Meigs Plan" March 23, 2022
Wayside of Black Houston mutineers legacy unveiled at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery February 24, 2022
Happy Birthday President Lincoln! And why this put the Gettysburg Address in national cemeteries February 11, 2022
NCA Historic Objects: Togus Time Capsule February 2, 2022
NCA Historic Objects: 1948 Repatriation Album of Alaska World War II Dead January 20, 2022
NCA Historic Objects: Civil War National Cemetery Bronze Shield Plaque January 13, 2022
NCA Historic Objects: Ft. Scott National Cemetery visitors register with Susan B. Anthony signature, 1895 January 7, 2022
2021: NCA History Blog posts
Blog Post Date
Halyburton and Grimsley – Story of U.S.'s first POW in WWI November 23, 2021
Remembering the USS Indianapolis November 15, 2021
1973 – When VA took over the National Cemetery System November 12, 2021
Exhibit – USCT Substitutes in the Border States, Buried in National Cemeteries November 12, 2021
John Pitzer and the journey to Loutre Island November 12, 2021
Lincoln and Grant in Lights: The Grand Army of the Republic's 1887 memorial stained-glass windows November 1, 2021
NCA Monuments Dedicated on Memorial Day May 1, 2021
The World's Most Intrepid Airman is a Woman: Remembering Katherine Stinson Otero March 25, 2021
Contrasting Lives: WWI Black Veterans Everett Johnson and Robert Chase February 27, 2021
Creating a Formidable Force: Colonel Dan T. Moore February 26, 2021
Trailblazers, Advocates, and the Anguished: Veteran Profiles of the 349th Field Artillery February 25, 2021
2020 and earlier: NCA History Blog posts
Blog Post Date
Friendship in Death: The Nimitz Plot at Golden Gate National Cemetery August 14, 2020
Remembering Fort Gratiot's July 1832 cholera victims at Lakeside Cemetery Soldiers Lot July 31, 2020
Remembering the USS Indianapolis (CA 35) on its 75th Anniversary July 30, 2020
Jo Ann K. Webb: NCA's First Female Director March 19, 2020
The Story of NCA's Presidential Memorial Certificate January 21, 2020
National Day of the Horse & the 3rd Massachusetts Cavalry December 3, 2019
Enslaved to Enlisted: Reddy Gray's Grave is Underground Railroad site September 4, 2019
Emma Morrill Fogg French – Civil War Nurse July 8, 2019
Cemetery Monuments Embody Service, Sacrifice May 24, 2019
May is for Memorial Day...and Mowing May 23, 2019
Mount Moriah Naval Plot: History and Restoration May 16, 2019
Resuscitating Dayton National Cemetery's 'Tunnel of Death' May 3, 2019
97 years ago: New Government Headstone for World War Veterans April 26, 2019
President Lincoln's Gettysburg Address in National Cemeteries is a Birthday Legacy February 12, 2019
Memorial Day at 150 May 17, 2018
Buffalo Soldier Makes History Serving as Superintendent of VA Cemeteries February 28, 2018
NCA Historians Preserve National Cemeteries: 50th anniversary of National Historic Preservation Act October 27, 2016