Memorial Day in the City of Angels

detail-of-civil-war-soldier-monument-section-70a.-view-to-north-blogSalient rows of marble grace the 114 acres of the Los Angeles National Cemetery in the Westwood neighborhood of the sprawling metro area of Southern California. Founded in 1889, two years after the Pacific Branch of the National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers was built nearby on donated ranch land, the vast cemetery is a poignant reminder of the cost of freedom to the millions who pass by every year on the adjacent boulevards. As a young boy in the late 1960s and early 1970s, with the news of the Vietnam War on our minds, I would sit quietly in the back of my parents station wagon as they drove past the cemetery, and my mind would wonder about the thousands of veterans—buried side-by-side, row after row—together, eternally vigilant. Over 100 Buffalo Soldiers, 14 Medal of Honor recipients, and Wyatt Earp’s father, Nicholas P. Earp, are interred there. Today, the National Cemetery is closed to new interments, with minor exceptions, but its memorials, like the one to the veterans of the Civil War, stand eerily quiet, ever vigilante, amidst the cacophony of the City of Angels.

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