Commemorate America’s Heroes in Southern California
The end of the year offers several opportunities to reflect upon the sacrifices made by our nation’s servicemen and women. In addition to taking part in Veterans Day and Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day activities, you can visit one of Southern California’s numerous memorials or monuments.
The Los Angeles National Cemetery is a peaceful place where visitors can pay their respects to veterans of different wars and conflicts. The cemetery was dedicated in 1889 and now features over 114 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens and a Spanish Revival-style columbarium. In the San Juan Hill area, you’ll see a granite obelisk erected, as the inscription reads, “In memory of the men who offered their lives in defense of their country.” The cemetery also contains a Civil War monument dating back to 1942 and a stunning United Spanish War Veterans monument. Among the several heroes buried at the Los Angeles National Cemetery are a number of Medal of Honor recipients as well. Learn more about the cemetery and its monuments at www.cem.va.gov/cems/nchp/losangeles.asp.
Although control of La Jolla’s Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial was officially transferred to the Department of Defense in 2006, its monuments and surrounding grounds have been cared for by both nonprofit organizations and government groups for several decades. The top of Mount Soledad served as one of the military's early-warning defense systems in World War II and assisted planes and ships with navigation throughout many other wars and conflicts. In 1954, a 29-foot cross was erected to honor Korean War Veterans. The Memorial comprises six concentric walls bearing more than 2,700 black granite plaques engraved with the names and photos of war veterans, along with 23 bollards (short posts) honoring community and veteran organizations. The Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial stands 822 feet above San Diego County and is surrounded by nature trails and benches belonging to Soledad Natural Park. It’s the perfect place to sit, reflect and pay tribute. For more information, visit www.soledadmemorial.com.
In Westminster, the Vietnam War Memorial is an emotional monument that attracts visitors from all over the country. Two lifelike soldiers, designed and sculpted by Tuan Nguyen, stand above a plaque that reads “Duty, honor, sacrifice. It is sometimes said that heroes are hard to find. People who understand the meaning of duty, honor and country need to look no further than those who fight for freedom and democracy.” The memorial also includes an ornate fountain, as well as American, POW/MIA and former South Vietnam flags. The Vietnam War Memorial is located in the Sid Goldstein Freedom Park, and you can find more details at www.westminster-ca.gov/services/visitors.asp.
Take time to remember the brave veterans of past and present. Check out www.cdva.ca.gov/Memorials/Memorials.aspx to learn about other memorials located in the southern region of the state.