On May 6th 2014 Cyndie Taylor placed the cremated remains of her grandmother Mary Lazar into the last columbarium (UnionTribune Article) at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery here in San Diego, California. Mary’s first husband, Stalinslav Rossa was enlisted as a flight officer in the 823rd Bomber Squadron in the US Air Force during World War II and died in battle off the coast of China on March 15th, 1945. For his bravery and service was awarded the Purple Heart medal.
Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery
Officially registered as a California Historical Landmark (#55) more than 82 years ago, Fort Rosecrans sprawling 77 acre landscape hosts the largest Memorial Day celebration in San Diego.
The Department of Veterans Affairs research found that as of 2011 an estimated 670 American WWII Veterans pass away each day. As of November 2012 according to the records of the Department of Veterans Affairs there are approximately 1.4 million American veterans of World War II still alive.
There have been 464 US military personnel involved in the World War II conflict to receive the Medal of Honor, the highest honor possible. Over half of those receiving the recognition were awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously.
Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery has actually been “closed” for new burials (or interments) since the 1960’s, but with the addition of the Veterans Memorial Wall to house cremated ashes in columbarium’s, thousands of World War II veterans have been able to be forever memorialized at the honorable site.
As they expression goes, when one door closes-another opens, in this case Miramar National Cemetery opening in 2011 has over 300 acres situated adjacent to the Miramar Air Station, a peaceful sprawling landscape with an impressive 15 foot tall, 7 ton, memorial statue entitled “The Liberation Moment” designed by a Poway artist named Richard Becker.
There is no other city in the US as synonymous with military pride as San Diego, veterans and enlisted personnel (and their families) are a large part of the population. The honor of being buried in a National Cemetery when a service member passes away is an important benefit of serving in the military, not just for properly honoring the fallen and veterans that have served our country, but as a place for families to continue visiting with pride to be passed along from generation to generation.
Fort Rosecrans Internments
There are approximately 112,000 remains, 23 of which were Medal of Honor recipients and fallen soldiers remains date back to the Spanish-American War. The closing of the gates of Fort Rosecrans only opens the doors of growth and opportunity for Miramar Nation Cemetery, whose land development and design is still just in its first phase of six. If Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery is superior in coastal and city line views to Miramar National Cemetery, the peace and open space with endless blue skies are unmatched and were supremely selected for San Diego’s newest veteran memorial cemetery.
America has been involved in military conflicts all over the globe and unfortunately will likely continue to do so (with casualties) as long as nations continue to clash. For military personnel, being buried on “home soil” is of critical importance to not just the soldiers themselves, but their families. For this reason we must continue to make room for and space to honor them but also accept the changing scenery-from new cemeteries to a new phase of our life. It is inevitable that one day Miramar National Cemetery will also be filled to capacity, and there’s no doubt that by that time (perhaps the 30th century) – the attachment people feel towards Fort Rosecrans will be the same if not more so about Miramar National Cemetery.