Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Fort Rosecrans National Cemetary

VA photo

This seems to be the first US military cemetery in California, and because of that it thus merits state landmark status. Standing here on the green rolling hills overlooking both the bay and the Pacific, the Richard Rogers score from Victory at Sea naturally plays in one’s head, the question is asked, do the dead need such a view? Probably not, and as a pragmatic ex-marine, a nice flat secure spot further inland and out of mist like Kimball Park in National City would do just fine for a national cemetery…and justify the town name at the same time. Still, those who have passed and are interned here are proving to be better caretakers in preserving the pristine beauty of this site for living who wish to visit.

Steve Paul Johnson photos

The main purpose of a fort here was the installation of artillery to defend San Diego Bay against intruders, and they’ve been doing it since the Spanish plopped down smooth bore cannons at the tip of Ballast Point in 1797. Over the years they’ve placed cannons, mortars, howitzers, and naval guns at various locations, with the zenith being a couple of 16 inch long range guns during WWII….hopefully aimed seaward. In 1947 they pulled all the guns out, leaving the bay defenseless to invading flotillas all these ensuing years. This opens the obvious scenario of those pesky northern California secessionists firing up the ghost fleet of Suisen Bay, deactivating all the computing and electronic gizmos they invented up there, and taking the southern harbors by conventional means. The navy seals in their rubber rafts would be no match to the USS Iowa sailing in the bay with pillaging San Franciscans, commandeering Hotel Coronado and regrouping for a land assault to the airport with the eventual goal of Sea World in their sights.        

Visited - August 15, 1992
Plaque inscription: NO. 55  FORT ROSECRANS NATIONAL CEMETERY - A burial ground before 1847, this graveyard became an Army post cemetery in the 1860s. It is the final resting place for most who fell at San Pasqual in 1846, and for the USS Bennington victims of 1905. It became Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in 1934 and was placed under the Veterans Administration National Cemetery System in 1973. Over 50,000 who served the U.S. honorably in war and peace lie here.
Location: Cabrillo Memorial Dr Point Loma, San Diego, San Diego County
Google maps: 32.688780,-117.244956

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, John, for this post. I am about to bury my dad at the National Cemetery in Riverside ... and I never knew about this one. Thanks for all the info and the history ... very cool!

    We obviously have similar interests in and appreciation for the history of our lands and landmarks. I see you have done posts on a lot of the places that I have visited too. Love your blog. ;)