Presidio honors our veterans

A new overlook in the Presidio that was built to honor the lives of more than 30,000 American veterans — including Civil War generals, Medal of Honor recipients, Buffalo Soldiers and a Union Spy — will be formally unveiled Wednesday.

The National Cemetery Overlook is the fourth of eight planned for the Presidio. It winds visitors through a series of stone walls inscribed with quotes about service and sacrifice, and it sits above the San Francisco National Cemetery, where more than 30,000 people are buried.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is scheduled to attend a private ceremony on the overlook at the southeast side of the cemetery Wednesday, which is Veterans Day. Also in attendance will be several veterans and veterans groups, and Poet Laureate Robert Hass will read “The Young Dead Soldiers” by Archibald MacLeish. It’s one of the poems inscribed on the walls.

The first known American was buried at the site in 1854, then the grounds were established as the first national cemetery on the West Coast in December 1884.

Now, the 22 acres framed by Monterey cypress trees is the final resting place for 31,633 people. Currently, the site only accepts internments for eligible family members in existing grave sites.

Those who didn’t get a private invitation to the ceremony can attend the public one at 10 a.m. Saturday to meet the designers and members of the Presidio Trust and the National Park Service.

Cars are prohibited on the trails. Attendees must park at the Presidio Officers’ Club, 50 Moraga Ave., then wait for a shuttle that comes every 10 minutes starting at 9:50 a.m. and ending at 1:30 p.m.

Holiday happenings

  • Schools, libraries and city agencies will be closed statewide Wednesday
  • BART will run on a regular weekday schedule Wednesday; Veterans Day is considered a BART parking holiday
     

Local events

San Francisco

  • San Francisco Veterans Connect
  • 401 Third St., San Francisco 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    One-day event offers homeless military veterans access to medical treatment, dental care, housing information, VA benefits enrollment and food

    National Cemetery Overlook open house

  • Park at Presidio Officers' Club 50 Moraga Ave., San Francisco  9:50 a.m. Saturday
    Meet the designers and members of Presidio Trust and the National Park Service
     

San Mateo County

  • Redwood City Courthouse Square Veterans Day celebration
  • 2200 Broadway St., Redwood City 9:30 a.m. Wednesday
     
  • Golden Gate National Cemetery
  • 1300 Sneath Lane, San Bruno  11 a.m. Wednesday
    32nd annual Veterans Day observance presented by the Avenue of Flags Committee

    kkelkar@sfexaminer.com

 

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