Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A DC Sojourn

On Monday, Erik participated in a conference about Ukraine's presidential election at George Washington University, presenting a paper that evaluated polling station-level data. The conference brought together scholars from the US, Canada, and Ukraine to assess the implications of Viktor Yanukovych's victory. Although it was a one-day event, Erik enjoyed it tremendously and learned quite a bit.

While the trip afforded him no time for sightseeing, he took an opportunity to stop in for a brief visit to Arlington National Cemetery en route to the airport. Arlington was full of high school-aged tourists, likely on Spring Break trips to the capital. Despite the crowds, the cemetery was beautiful and serene, and Erik visited a quiet spot where his Uncle Vincent is interred. Vincent died in WWII at Anzio, and his grave site is an inspiring symbol amid the uniformity of Arlington's rows of white headstones.

A few years ago, we first visited the grave and noticed that a tree trunk was growing around it. We have tracked the tree's progress over the years, but have not been back in quite some time. The tree has almost completely enveloped the stone, rendering Vincent's name illegible (Vincent's official name was Maurice Herron, and that is what appears on the headstone. As you can see in the above photo, only the words "RICE" and "RON" are visible). Erik packed light for the trip and did not have his digital camera. However, he had his laptop and used the photo capture feature on the webcam to snap these shots.


lisac said...

Thank you for posting this information about Maurice Herron, who is part of my Killoran family diaspora. I had wondered where he died, and I like how that big tree just seems to hug him close.

May I post your headstone photo and accompanying description on my ancestry.com site? I would be also happy to add a link to your well-written blog, so that other family members may read it as well.


Toronto, ON Canada

Erik, Lea, and Carter Herron said...

Thank you for your comments! Please let us know more about your connection to the Herron family. You may do so privately if you prefer (herron.erik at gmail dot com).

My father (Vincent's brother) read the post and told us that we were repeating inaccurate family lore. As a child, he recalls being told that Vincent died at Pagano in a German artillery attack (perhaps Monte Pagano). The story we included in the blog comes from a cousin who indicated that Vincent died in a sniper attack at Anzio.

Erik, Lea, and Carter Herron said...

One more correction - my father would not have been a child at the time Vincent's death was reported, but rather a young man in his mid-late teens.