As our days in St. Louis grow shorter–we move to Chicago in November–Margi and I took a hike through the remarkable Bellefontaine Cemetery, rightfully named a Best Hidden Gem by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
In addition to serving as the final resting place for many historical figures, such as William Clark of Lewis & Clark renown, this burial ground features row upon row of grandiose mausoleums with the names of their “inhabitants” etched on the marble or granite lintels above the doorways. For example, the mausoleum above is for someone–or some family–named Tate.
So, too, the earthly remains of Adolphus Busch, the co-founder of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, has what could hardly be described as a modest burial structure.
And those were just two of dozens and dozens of mausoleums that we strolled past on our hike.
As we passed one row after another, I was reminded of the sad but wise meditation of Marcus Aurelius on this very subject. Nearly 2,000 years ago, he wrote:
People who are excited by posthumous fame forget that the people who remember them will soon die too. And those after them in turn. Until their memory, passed from one to another like a candle flame, gutters and goes out.