It is no secret that I LOVE Atlanta's Oakland Cemetery. Right there in the midst of all the modern skyscrapers of the capital of the New South lies one of the most beautiful and unique parks in any municipal areas in the nation. What I mean by this is that Oakland is not only a cemetery, but it is actually a city park owned by the City of Atlanta, or, as I like to point out in my political blogs, the taxpayers. On my many visits, I have seen people strolling around the park with their pets, sprawled out on the grass reading, helping themselves to a picnic, or just jogging through. It is the final resting place of several Georgia governors, famed golfer Bobby Jones, author Margaret Mitchell, former Atlanta mayor Maynard Jackson, and thousands of Atlantans from yesteryear. If you have never visited, make it a point to do so.
Oakland is also home to a number of strange and mysterious happenings. I want to point out one here in the blog tonight. I would also like to recommend a great new book called GHOSTS OF ATLANTA: PHANTOMS OF THE PHOENIX CITY by Reese Christian. The story I am about to recount can be found in her book, among many others.
The story goes that if you visit the Confederate section, you will come upon perhaps the most famous monument in the cemetery-the Lion of the Confederacy!! It is a majestic, moving monument to the Confederate dead. The cemetery is home to hundreds of them, many from the Battle of Atlanta fought at the beginning of Sherman's famous March to the Sea. The Lion is modeled after the famous Lion of Lucerne. The monument depicts a dead lion, complete with a dagger in its heart. This is a tribute to those who fell in defense of the South during the War Between the States. Reese Christian writes in her book that, "It is said that each year at twilight on November 14, the date that General Sherman and his army vacated Atlanta to head south toward Macon and Atlanta, a 'roll call of the dead' can be heard in a ghostly voice, calling out the names of the dead who reside in the Confederate section of Oakland Cemetery."
On my many visits to the cemetery I have gone up the Lion of the Confederacy monument and there is always a feeling of sadness that I feel when I stand there. The monument is majestic. It should definitely be one of the places you visit in the cemetery when you walk through its grounds.