Sunday, September 16, 2007


The marker for Civil War photographer Mathew B. Brady. His images of the War Between the States brought this awful conflict to life for the citizens of the USA and the CSA and remain a stark glimpse into one of America's most pivotal conflicts.

Tucked into a corner of southeast Washington near the D.C. Armory and RFK Stadium and abutting the Anacostia River is the Congressional Cemetery. According to the cemetery timeline, it was founded in 1807 as the Washington Parish Burial Ground. According to U.S. Senate Document No. 42, December 6, 1906, the official name of the cemetery was rarely used and had "nearly always been called the 'Congressional Cemetery.'" The reasoning for the secondary and more common name: "when the cemetery was first established, it was chosen by the United States as the place of internment for nearly every member of Congress or executive officer who died while holding office."

The grave of John Philip Sousa, USMC. Sousa is best known for his marches, including The Washington Post March, Semper Fidelis, and The Stars and Stripes Forever. Sousa is considered the father of "The President's Own" Marine Corps Band.

While many politicians and public servants are buried in Congressional Cemetery, the land has also become the final resting place for many other famous figures from American history. Most notably: Bella Lockwood, the first and only woman to be nominated for president; Matthew Brady, the Civil War photographer; J. Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI; Clyde Tolson, the man "who ate breakfast with Hoover every morning for 30 years"; and Ruth Overbeck, who epithet reads "Look It Up!" In addition, the cemetery features a 9/11 memorial from the neighborhood association of Ward 6 (the section, or ward, in D.C. wherein the cemetery lies) and a monument to a group of women who lost their lives in an arsenal explosion during the Civil War.

The cenotaph of then-U.S. House Majority Leader Thomas Hale Boggs, who died in a plane crash in a remote area in Alaska in 1972. Boggs was the father of journalist Cokie Roberts.

As mentioned previously, the cemetery was meant to be the final resting place of politicians and public servants. While some reside here, many others do not. However, they are remembered within the cemetery with a cenotaph. The word means "empty tomb," though at least 80 congressmen lie beneath some of the 165 of the cenotaphs. One of the most famous in contemporary memory would be that of the late Speaker of the House, Thomas J. "Tip" O'Neil of Massachusetts. He has a marker in the cemetery, but is actually buried in his home state.

Zip: 20003

Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential (09/07)

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