San Diego's New National Cemetery is now under construction and the original Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery is getting a makeover.
Veteran Military casket burials at the Rosecrans National Cemetery in Point Loma have not taken place in 44 years with the exception of those killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan. There have been family members laid to rest with honored loved ones that already have a plot. There have been thousands of cremation burials but Rosecrans simply ran out of space for casket burials.There is a site that I will link here that has the rules and guidelines for who qualifies for burial at national cemeteries and the details of the Veteran Benefits and it is a fascinating read if you are interested.
The makeover of the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery will cost in the range of 20 million for the additional columbarium walls being built on annexed property adding approximately 27,000 additionsl burial niches that will keep the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery vital as an active cemetery for at least another decade.
There will also be a re-alignment of the headstones that have slipped or tilted out of alignment. You can see in the photo below why this has become necessary. Our national cemeteries are source of national pride and they require a great deal of maintenance. Each marble marker weighs in the range of 240 pounds and when installed into fresh soil, they sink, slip and tilt out of alignment over time.
The process if re-aligning these marble markers is not as easy as it might sound. First the headstone has to be removed and stored. Each marker has an etched number on the back side and it must be recorded. Then they will trench the space to 3 feet deep, pour concrete and then set a cement box that will support the marble headstone. Then the space will be filled in with gravel and then sod.
The new National Cemetery will be located at the Miramar Marine Air Station and plans to open for casket burials in February 2011. When the new cemetery opens, I will be there and bring this post up to date. It will not have the stunning coastal views of Fort Rosecrans but I am expecting that it will be quite beautiful and will have a very unique distinction. Because of the air station being located adjacent to the cemetery, the grave-sites will have daily flyovers.
I came back to this post this morning and didn't want to end this post without adding a note about the pride that I feel about the many that rest here having given their all. When I walk among them, I get goose flesh at the awesome sacrifice they have each made. To these men and women that have demonstrated their total love of our country, may they always know they will be in our hearts and minds, no matter what time of year. We honor them!
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