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The Face Of Death - Graceland Cemetery Chicago
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© Christine Till
Cemeteries can be great places to learn more about local history, and Graceland Cemetery in Chicago has to be one of the best. Established in 1860, Graceland is the final resting place for a who's who of Chicago history.
Marking hotelier Dexter Graves' tomb is a statue called 'Eternal Silence' or 'Statue of Death'. Created by Lorado Taft in 1909, this sculpture was at one point entirely black. Chicago smog seems to have taken care of that, but the Face of Death, which is hidden in the deepest folds of the figure’s robe, is still dark. This is by far the spookiest statue in Graceland Cemetery. To gaze into the face of the sculpture is to catch a glimpse of your own death to come, or so says the folk stories.
The 'Eternal Silence' (Statue of Death) memorial evokes in us contemplative ideas concerning our past and our future, our memories and our legends. Local legends writes its own history. Sometimes what's real can only be seen in our mind's eye. That doesn't necessarily mean it's not real because the moral of her story is real. We never truly ever die, as long as someone is standing over our departed remains. For those few brief moments they read the engraving on our tombstones, we are alive to them, and our memory lives on.
March 3rd, 2013
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