Last week after my husband and I went to Hollywood Forever Cemetery, he told me he would not go to anymore cemeteries. Then yesterday he said “Hey, you want to go to Point Loma?” “Sure, why? “ “The veteran’s cemetery.” I don’t know why he changed his mind but off we went.
I was captivated the minute our drive took us near the military markers. I was born in San Diego, but I had never been here. I could barely wait to get out of the car. Imagine this: The ocean on two sides and military markers as far as you can see up and down rolling hills. As we walked among the stones, there was every branch of the military, every state represented, men, women, and children. We found out that there have been nearly 95,000 number of people buried there. Currently there is no room for casket interments but some for cremated remains.
As a burial ground it dates from the early history of California. The cemetery lies on two sides of a road. We walked up and down hills. I got as close to the ocean as I could, trying to decide which space had the best view. Then we crossed the street and went on the side that faces the bay and downtown San Diego. Now we start finding older graves. Not only were there military issued stones but several other markers of various shapes and designs mixed in. Both of us were reading so many and calling each other over to see our discoveries. Talk about HOPPING though the graveyard!!
Then a group of people came near to one stone I was standing at and one man started to tell a story, so I stopped and listened. He introduced himself and said he was a history teacher and this was some of his AP students. I asked if I could follow along. This man was passionate about San Diego history. We went to the Bennington monument, a tall granite monument, and he told about then men that were buried there. He pointed to the bay and said that the ship, the USS Bennington was docked there when the ship started on fire due to a boiler that burst. The captain had gone into town and was at a local bar drinking. The crew had just returned from maneuvers in the Pacific and need some R&R. When the captain was told of the ship on fire, he hurried to the harbor, but all he could do was helplessly watch his ship burn. The history teacher told in graphic detail how the men burned to death. So here, the men are buried within sight of where they died. That was so touching I wanted to cry.
I had to cheer up so we continued our walk looking at all the interesting stones. I saw some symbols engraved on the markers I wasn’t familiar with. Couldn’t wait to get home to look them up.
Along the road that divides the two sides bicycle riders are peddling in the beautiful San Diego climate. And walkers and joggers are enjoying their daily activities. San Diego is a very health oriented community. The ambiance is enhanced by the Pacific Ocean air.
Once at home I spent the evening on the internet looking up more information about Fort Rosecrans. I should have done that before we went. But this wasn’t academic, it was an adventure.