Shaara Bench at Richmond’s Hollywood Cemetery

Richmond’s Hollywood Cemetery, a lovely place in the garden style, has 18,000 Civil War dead buried there including well-known generals and Presidents James Monroe and John Tyler. When my wife and I visited Richmond in 2017, we included the cemetery and spent a considerable amount of time walking past huge memorials and simple graves. It’s hard not to feel the presence of the dead in this sacred ground, especially the row upon row of enlisted men who died at Gettysburg.

The name “Hollywood” comes from the Holly trees on this former estate from which the cemetery was created in 1847.

I was surprised to find a memorial bench dedicated to my former teacher and friend Michael Shaara there. Some people think it doesn’t belong. Others disagree, including me.  The bench is there because of Shaara’s coverage of the battle of Gettysburg in his Pulitzer Prize (1975) winning novel The Killer Angels.

The inscription reads: “Dedicated to Michael Shaara. Author, who so poignantly reminded us of the mortal sacrifice made by the soldiers who valiantly fought at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. July 1st-3rd 1863.”

The bench was placed there next to General Pickett’s monument by the Pickett Society.