Heroes of Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial.

Tinted morning sky above Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial in San Diego.
Tinted morning sky above Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial.

Early this morning, just as the sun was beginning to rise, I arrived at the top of a mountain. It had been a long while since I visited the Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial.

Located in La Jolla, north of downtown San Diego, Mount Soledad is a place of stunning views and great natural beauty. And a place filled with memory and feeling. Thousands are honored here for unselfishly serving their country.

Plaques on six concentric walls each remember an American hero, some who are living, many who’ve passed away into history. At the center rises a tall white memorial cross, erected in 1954 to honor Korean War veterans. The subject of controversy over many years, the cross will soon stand protected on private land. The National Defense Authorization Act for 2015 contains a provision that will convey the cross to the Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial Association.

Like a mosaic, eternally shining black granite plaques cover the low, curving walls; they tell the diverse stories of uniformed members of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard, plus those who served in the Merchant Marine during World War II. The walls will ultimately hold 3,200 names.

If you have a loved one who is serving, or who has served, you can purchase a plaque. Here is the memorial’s website.

Sun rising on eastern horizon illuminates top of concentric walls of the memorial.
Sun rising on eastern horizon illuminates top of concentric walls of the memorial.
The cross is a landmark that can be seen for many miles in every direction. The flagpole is bare at this early hour.
The cross is a landmark that can be seen for many miles in every direction. The flagpole is bare at this early hour.
Early morning visitors to Mount Soledad take photos of the 29 foot high cross.
Early morning visitors to Mount Soledad take photos of the 29 foot high cross.
Looking south over part of La Jolla toward Mission Bay and Point Loma. Downtown San Diego is visible on the far left.
Looking south over part of La Jolla toward Mission Bay and Point Loma. Downtown San Diego is visible on the far left.
Beautiful yellow flowers, grass and benches are found about this mountaintop monument to all Veterans.
Beautiful yellow flowers, grass and benches are found about this mountaintop monument to all veterans.
Gazing over curved walls containing memorial plaques toward the Pacific Ocean in morning light.
Gazing over curved walls containing memorial plaques toward the Pacific Ocean in morning light.
Friendly gentleman keeping the Mt. Soledad Park clean is grateful to work up here surrounded by so much beauty.
Friendly gentleman keeping the Mt. Soledad Park clean is grateful to work up here surrounded by so much beauty.
Photograph of the historic, controversial cross taken from its base.
Photograph of the historic, controversial cross taken from its base.
Plaque states the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Cross was dedicated in 1954 as a tribute to those who've served in all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.
Plaque states the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Cross was dedicated in 1954 as a tribute to those who’ve served in all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.
Veteran volunteer prepares to proudly raise the American flag.
Veteran volunteer prepares to proudly raise the American flag.
The Stars and Stripes is carefully attached, ready to be lifted into the wide, blue sky.
The Stars and Stripes is carefully attached, ready to be lifted into the wide, blue sky.
The volunteer momentarily lowered the flag to half-mast, to honor the fallen. He then raised it to the top and showed his respect.
The volunteer momentarily lowered the flag to half-mast, to honor the fallen. He then raised it to the top and showed his respect.
Plaque at base of flagpole.
Plaque at base of flagpole.
The very energetic volunteer was happy to show me around the memorial.
The friendly volunteer was happy to show me around the memorial.
Names of donors on special bricks.
Names of donors on special bricks.
Pointing out notable names and heroic exploits that shine on the walls.
Pointing out notable names and heroic exploits that shine on the walls.
Photo plaques honor both living and dead members of United States uniformed services.
Photo plaques honor both living and deceased members of United States uniformed services.
Memorialized vets served honorably in eras and conflicts throughout our nation's history.
These memorialized vets served honorably in eras and conflicts throughout our nation’s history.
Jeffrey Scott Taylor of U.S. Navy killed in action in Afghanistan in 2005.
Jeffrey Scott Taylor of U.S. Navy killed in action in Afghanistan in 2005.
Plaque on Mt. Soledad honors and remembers prisoners of war, and those missing in action.
Plaque on Mt. Soledad honors and remembers prisoners of war, and those missing in action.
Herman Henry Hanneken, Brigadier General of U.S. Marine Corps, served in many wars long ago.
Herman Henry Hanneken, Brigadier General of U.S. Marine Corps, served in many wars long ago.
Famed band director Glenn Miller was a great morale builder during World War II.
Famed band director Glenn Miller was a great morale builder during World War II.
General Black Jack Pershing fought victoriously, from the Indian Wars through World War I.
General “Black Jack” Pershing fought victoriously, from the late 19th century through World War I.
Rear Admiral Thomas William McNamara has a plaque on Mount Soledad.
Rear Admiral Thomas William McNamara has a plaque on Mount Soledad.
U.S. Army Corporal Alfred W. Stewart helped liberate the Philippine Islands during WWII.
U.S. Army Corporal Alfred W. Stewart helped liberate the Philippine Islands during WWII.
Pharmacist's Mate Third Class Howard Manuel Gonzalez of the U.S. Navy is honored.
Pharmacist’s Mate Third Class Howard Manuel Gonzalez of the U.S. Navy is honored.
Harry Herman Heimple was a highly decorated U.S. Air Force Colonel during the Vietnam War and Desert Storm.
Harry Herman Heimple was a highly decorated U.S. Air Force Colonel during the Vietnam War and Desert Storm.
San Diego local hero Jerry Coleman, a baseball legend who served with great patriotism in two wars.
San Diego local hero Jerry Coleman, a baseball legend who served with great patriotism in two wars.
Audie Murphy, one of the most decorated American combat soldiers of World War II.
Audie Murphy, one of the most decorated American combat soldiers of World War II.
General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower's plaque is added to a host of other plaques representing those who served with equal honor.
General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s plaque is added to a host of other plaques representing those who served with equal honor.
Commander in Chief Harry S. Truman began his military career during World War I.
Commander in Chief Harry S. Truman began his military career during World War I.
Jack Kramer served in the U.S. Coast Guard during the Second World War. He helped create modern professional tennis.
Jack Kramer served in the U.S. Coast Guard during the Second World War. He helped create modern professional tennis.
The four Nicosia brothers fought in different military branches in several theaters of war.
The four Nicosia brothers fought in different military branches in several theaters of war.
Famed Army General George S. Patton is remembered for his storied service to our country.
Famed Army General George S. Patton is remembered for his storied service to our country.
Legendary movie actor James Stewart was promoted to Brigadier General after 27 years of military service.
Legendary movie actor James Stewart was promoted to Brigadier General after 27 years of military service.
Pappy Boyington was a scrappy fighter pilot ace of the U.S. Marines during World War II.
Pappy Boyington was a scrappy fighter pilot ace of the U.S. Marines during World War II.
Dedicated to Jewish Chaplains who perished while in service to their country.
Dedicated to Jewish Chaplains who perished while in service to their country.
Sir Winston Churchill, who defended Britain from the Nazis, was made an honorary American citizen.
Sir Winston Churchill, who defended Britain from the Nazis, was made an honorary American citizen.
Patrol Bombing Squadron Eighteen. To men like them we owe our freedom.
Patrol Bombing Squadron Eighteen. To men like them we owe our freedom.
The brave, meritorious Tuskegee Airmen of the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II.
The brave, meritorious Tuskegee Airmen of the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II.
Michael A. Monsoor, a Navy Seal and Medal of Honor recipient who sacrificed his own life to save his comrades in Iraq.
Michael A. Monsoor, a Navy Seal and Medal of Honor recipient who sacrificed his own life to save his comrades in Iraq.
I'm shown an often updated book that lists the positions of every plaque by name.
I’m shown an often updated book that lists the positions of every plaque by name.
The volunteer at the memorial dutifully rings eight bells.
The volunteer at the memorial dutifully rings eight bells.
The Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial is a place of moving stories, and many heroes.
The Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial is a place of moving stories, and many heroes.

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Published by

Richard Schulte

Downtown San Diego has been my home for many years. My online activities reflect my love for writing, blogging, walking and photography.

15 thoughts on “Heroes of Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial.”

  1. This pictorial dedication to our fallen heroes is beautiful. Thanks so much. I hadn’t known that Churchill was made an honorary U.S. citizen. The Tuskegee Airmen plaque is a thoughtful addition to the monument and the one for James (Jimmy) Stewart is special to me – he was one of my favorite actors. They are all wonderful. Thanks again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jimmy Stewart is one of my favorites, too. I looked at Wikipedia and there are only six or seven people who’ve been granted honorary United States citizenship. The one I remember seeing, in addition to Churchill, was Mother Teresa.

      Liked by 1 person

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