San Francisco, in fact, has only two remaining cemeteries, aside from several columbaria: the little graveyard behind Mission Dolores, and the large National Cemetery in the Presidio. In this second cemetery, thirty thousand soldiers and their wives lie interred on a slope above the Bay. Today 30,000 American flags fluttered beside their markers, and more wondrously, 30,000 roses had been laid beside the markers of 30,000 souls. I walked on the lush grass between these rows of plain white stones, praying my rosary as I read the names and the dates and the wars in which they fought. The Spanish American War. The Boxer Rebellion. World War I. World War II. Korea. Vietnam. My father fought in the liberation of Manila in 1945, and could well have been one of the dead in this field. He lives yet, but none of his children have served in the military.
The older I get the more I appreciate those who serve in the nation’s armed forces. God bless America for laying a fresh rose at their gravesides.