Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday Photo #3: Cypress Hills National Cemetery

Note: Click on image to view full size.
The Cypress Hills National Cemetery at 625 Jamaica Avenue, Brooklyn, is the only United States National Cemetery in New York City. More than 21,000 veterans and civilians are interred here, including veterans of every conflict from the American Revolutionary War of 1812, through to the Vietnam War.
The Cemetery is just a short walk from the 12 Towns/North Brooklyn YMCA – also on Jamaica Avenue. I spent several weeks at the 'Y' during April and May, 2008, and visited the cemetery on a number of occasions.
It was late spring when I took this photograph (and the video footage embedded below). As you can see, the stunning pink cherry blossoms had begun to fall, blanketing the lush green lawns with a fine carpet of eye-catching colour.
There is something intensely solemn about visiting a site like this. It is not a place you can hurry through. You have to take the time to reflect and remember; to ponder the fate of so many veterans and civilians. To question and contemplate. To ask yourself, Why? To also ask yourself, What if…?
The video footage below was filmed at the same time as the above photograph was taken. As I recall, it was a grey, damp, overcast day. The type of day that helps heighten the experience and adds to the overall impact of seeing thousands upon thousands of white marble headstones laid out in perfect formation. It runs for just three minutes. So why not click the ‘play’ button, and take the time right now to reflect, ponder, question and contemplate?

Location: Cypress Hills National Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York
Photography and video footage: Jim Lesses, May 2008.
Note: Click on image to view full size.

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