The Miramar National Cemetery in San Diego, California, observed Memorial Day for the first time Monday.
Retired Brig. Gen. Robert Cardenas, an Air Force test pilot and combat Veteran of the Second World War, served as the guest speaker at the observance, which was open to the public, and featured music from the Navy’s Southwest Region band.
A Memorial Day service and “day of remembrance” was also held at 10 am at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, the only other national cemetery in San Diego County.
Miramar is a 313-acre cemetery located west of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego. It opened in late 2010 and provides gravesites and columbarium niches for military service members, eligible Veterans, and their survivors.
The Miramar National Cemetery features “The Liberation Monument,” statue of a prisoner of war emerging from captivity, as well as a stretch of 50 American flags, which are visible from the nearby interstate highway, called the “Avenue of Flags.” A marble memorial wall also contains plaques in honor of the fallen.
As of May 1st, the cemetery has handled the burials of more than 1,160 remains, most of them consisting of in-ground burials. Late next year, officials expect the Miramar National Cemetery to become busier, since Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery can only support cremated remains for burial.
Miramar initially opened as an “annex” to Fort Rosecrans, and the first phase of construction covered 42 acres on the property, and provides for 11,500 grave sites, 4,500 in-ground cremation sites, and 10,000 columbarium niches.