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Navajo Veteran's Memorial Cemetery Tsehootsooi
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© Christine Till
American flags fly over headstones in the Navajo's veterans' cemetery in Tse'hootsooi between Window Rock and Fort Defiance on the Navajo Nation.
The Tseootsooi cemetery sits on a windswept high desert plateau east of BIA Highway 12. The reservation is sun baked and windy - nowhere more so than the cemetery. The flags snap over the final resting place of the Diné veterans of America's 20th and 21st century wars. Members of the military killed overseas are returned to the reservation for burial. More than 300 Navaho veterans are buried here. There's a haunting quality to the cemetery.
National cemeteries in cities like Washington, St. Paul or Phoenix are spotlessly clean and orderly. Graves are in neat rows, the grass is cut (in Phoenix the gravel is raked). Flowers are placed in authorized vases. It's not like that in Navajo land. It's kind of unruly. Graves don't appear to be in any particular order. Some are mounds, others are fenced in, still others have sunk into the sun baked earth. Huge flags fly over many of the graves, while tiny ones adorn others. Some of the graves have plastic flowers but many do not.
If you find yourself driving along BIA Highway 12 north of Window Rock (Scenic Road - Indian Route 12, Arizona) you owe it to yourself to stop at the Navajo Veteran's Memorial Cemetery in Tsehootsooi.
August 22nd, 2013
Viewed 525 Times - Last Visitor from Seattle, WA on 12/20/2014 at 8:33 AM
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