Saturday, March 10, 2007

Riverside National Cemetery

I've lived in the area for over 10 years, and must humbly confess that I've never before visited this site, although I drive by it quite often (it is on the way to the gun store, after all). I rectified that today, and brought my son with me to pay a visit.

Located by March ARB, Riverside National Cemetery is the home of the National Medal of Honor Memorial, the POW Memorial, and the final resting place for many of our nations' veterans. The attendant on duty, a retired Warrant Officer, referred to it as "The Arlington of the West".

This is the POW memorial.

This is a plaque commemorating the battle honors of the 3rd Infantry Division.

This is the Medal of Honor memorial. In the foreground, inlaid in the pavement are the seals of each branch of the service, including the Coast Guard. Beautiful.

Inside the memorial, each Medal of Honor recipient's name is engraved in the black walls (marble? granite?) in gold leaf, starting from the Civil War and going all the way up to Iraq (2 so far). The names are arranged by war, or interim period.

This was interesting. Korea 1871? I was not aware of a US-involved war there at that time. The guy next to me said he taught history, and that he'd never heard of one either. Can anyone shed some light on this?

In case you've never seen one, this is what a Medal of Honor looks like. This is the highest award for valor that our country bestows upon our heroes. Some of the men named on that wall had more than one!

This was an educational visit for me, and a humbling one. I could have saved this post for Memorial Day or Veteran's Day I suppose, but I think any day can be a day for remembrance. You cannot stand in hallowed places such as this without being fully aware of the huge debt we owe our servicemen, past and present. It is fitting that their names are memorialized thus.


julie said...

Well, you're not so bad...I've lived in MoVal over 20 years and NEVER stopped at the cemetary. I even have family burried in it...but on the upside, you've convinced me to check it out!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful tribute!