When I lived in Florida, there was a cemetery not far away that had a lovely mix of new and old grave markers, thick twisted trees and patches of lush lawn, which made it a nice place for long night exposures, especially given that a couple of streetlamps not far away would shine, in places, through the cemetery. But it also holds this small, subtle, and enigmatic marker, which hides a story all by itself, one that I can’t relate in the slightest. What I present here is virtually everything that I know, save that this appears in the Eau Gallie Cemetery in Melbourne, Florida. I’m not patriotic in just about any meaning of the word – I not only think we belong to one world community and spend way too much time creating arbitrary “us-and-them” distinctions, I feel the US has some pretty shameful policies and behaviors, especially regarding other countries. Nonetheless, a lot of people from Cuba considered our country a much better alternative than theirs, especially in 1968, and I purposely framed the shot with the flag in the background as an accent – if I remember right, it was soon after Memorial Day and thus many graves in the cemetery sported flags.
Countless refugees/émigrés from Cuba came to America, most often Florida, by means of boats, some homemade, many dangerous, and more than a few Cubans died in the attempts; I’m left thinking that this marker reflects such a circumstance. Curiously, though, Melbourne is well up the coast, north of the easiest landfalls by a wide margin, and this alone adds some mystery to the story. Clearly there could be a lot to tell, but I’m not sure if anyone actually knows it anymore.