Cemeteries have always fascinated me.
On my way home after school, I sometimes stopped at one of Aachen’s old cemeteries.
I liked how peaceful it was. There was silence and tranquility. I could be alone with my thoughts. I could just sit on a bench under a tree and think.
Yeah, that’s the kind of thing I enjoyed as a teenager. I still do.
Just sit under a tree in a cemetery and contemplate life’s big questions:
Why are we here?
Does our life have any lasting consequence?
Or is our existence ultimately meaningless and quickly forgotten?
What happens after we die?
What better place to think about those things than a quiet cemetery, where time seems to stand still? It’s a great place to be in the moment. To be mindful.
You’ve probably guessed by now that I was not a lot of fun at parties.
One of the things I liked to think about was what life was like for the people in those graves. Some of them were decades old. Some even centuries.
Aachen is a very old city. Charlemagne, the great uniter of Europe, ruled his Holy Roman Empire from there. His ancient throne room still stands.
I liked looking for the oldest graves I could find.
Many were destroyed during World War 2. Some of the war’s heaviest fighting raged in Aachen. The cemeteries are filled with the war’s silent witnesses.
Every now and then, you still find one of the really old graves, from the Middle Ages.
Occasionally construction crews stumble on ancient Roman ruins while excavating a basement.
There is a lot of history in Aachen.
Some of it is on display in its ancient cemeteries. They’re like open air museums, filled with sculptures. I love to admire the artistry and craftsmanship.
I would like to invite you on a silent stroll through Aachen’s history, to catch a glimpse of those who lived and died while creating that history.
About the author
Gaspirtz's award-winning cartoons have appeared in hundreds of newspapers and magazines like Saturday Evening Post, SUN and National Enquirer.
His work has also been featured in dozens of books, including the New York Times best-selling series, Chicken Soup For The Soul.
You might have seen some of his comics online, on sites like BuzzFeed.
Gaspirtz cartoons have been on display in several museums, like the Museum of Modern Art in Tehran, Iran and the National Museum of Cartoon Art in Boca Raton, Florida.
In the late 1980s, Gaspirtz founded a video game development company called Amok Entertainment.
After programming several 8-bit games, he retired from coding and focused on game design as project manager for games like Pot Panic and Woody The Worm. Some of Amok's games were published by a subsidiary of Electronic Arts.
Visit the artist at Gaspirtz.com