President James Buchanan turned 225 years old on Saturday, 23 April 2016! On the same day, I dropped by his gravesite at Woodward Hill Cemetery in Lancaster, Pennsylvania to view his official wreath from President Barack Obama, and to pay my respects to our 15th President on his birthday anniversary.
The cemetery is looking the best it has looked in years, and I was pleased with the overall condition of Buchanan’s grave and the immediate surrounding area. There are some parts of the cemetery that still appear dilapidated, but it is a far cry from some other times when I have visited. As Mr. B would say, “Laus Deo!”
James Buchanan hand-picked his final resting spot at Woodward Hill, dictating that he would rest alone in that quiet place, under a simple monument. There have been campaigns over the years to reinter him at his lovely Wheatland estate, about two miles from the cemetery, but it is my opinion that he should remain in the spot he selected. For 148 years his bones have rested at Woodward Hill, and there they should remain.
Though he is often remembered in an unfavorable light, I prefer to think of him as his friend and fellow politician, Jeremiah S. Black, described him: “The incorruptible statesman whose walk was upon the mountain ranges of the law.”
Do you ever visit Presidents of the past on their birthday anniversaries? I hung with James Madison on his birthday last month, and James Buchanan this month. Who shall I party with next?