Monday, May 28, 2007

Images from the Los Angeles National Cemetery today

"To those who volunteered and extended the hand of liberty to alien peoples"

After seeing one morning client, I drove out to the Los Angeles National Cemetery to pay my respects. I did not have time to stick around for the ceremonies. But captured some photos. Here are just some of them:


Veterans stretching back to the time of the Civil War are buried here. Of note,
Over 100 Buffalo Soldiers are interred at the Los Angeles National Cemetery. These African American soldiers were members of the 9th, 10th, 24th, and 25th Cavalry during the Civil War.






Looking to the south, looming in the background is the Federal Building in Westwood. The National Cemetery sits on the northside of Wilshire Blvd.

I graduated from UCLA. During all that time, that I attended there and lived in Westwood Village and related areas, I never once visited the Cemetery. Although the Gulf War did grab my attention, and I used to listen to Pirate Radio's Shannon in the Morning for Gulf War Updates and patriotic music and soundbytes (including parody songs, poking fun at Saddam), for the most part, I slept through the political world and focused only on my small universe.

This is at the corner of Wilshire and Veteran. The cemetery sits on the westside of Veteran, with UCLA bordering the east. I even lived on Veteran Avenue a couple of times while at UCLA.
The United Spanish War Veterans monument, also known as the Spirit of ’98, is a bright white marble composition of three figures completed in 1950 by sculptor Roger Noble Burnham. The memorial crumbled after a 1971 earthquake. In 1973, sculptor David Wilkens re-created the monument out of concrete and plaster, reinforcing it with rebar. The plaque from the original sculpture survived and was imbedded on the new sculpture.
During my time at UCLA, I used to take pause and stare at this monument whenever I passed by. I think part of my interest had to do with the image of the Veteran of the Spanish-American War. One of the aftermaths of that, was the acquisition of the Philippines. And being a student of the Filipino martial arts, I had a historical interest in the time of the Philippine Insurrection.

We fought fierce Muslims, back then too. The Moros of the southern Philippines remained unconquered during the 500 years that the Spanish occupied the islands. Their fighting spirit was fortified by their religious fanaticism. There are accounts of "Amok" warriors and "Jurimentados" taking six rounds and still having the strength left to continue pressing their attack. This led to the .38 caliber pistol being replaced by the .45-caliber, for more stopping power against a charging Moro with the intent of engaging in close-quarter combat. I've heard many stories on how Marines got the nickname "leathernecks"; but one of the lesser known stories, and one that I have never been able to substantiate, is that the Marines received the nickname, in part, because they were issued leatherneck collars to counter the frequent attempts at beheading Marines with the swish of a wavy-edged kris or kampilan by the Moro warrior.

Moro violence and terrorist guerilla warfare continues to this day, as they've never truly been pacified. We've now been familiar with them as The Moro Liberation Front, which today finds its offsprings in the form of The Abu Sayyaf group and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front; both of which claim ties to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network. Many of the 15,000 warriors who make up the MILF took part in fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan.

Perhaps one day, I'll mention about how modern boxing techniques and footwork has its influence from the time when our Marines occupied the Philippines.
HISTORICAL INFORMATION

The Los Angeles National Cemetery, located across from what is now the VA Greater Los Angeles Health Care System, has grown to more than 114 acres since its late 19th century origins. The first interment dates to a few days prior to the May 22, 1889 dedication of the cemetery. In 1973, the cemetery was transferred from the then-Veterans Administration Medical Center to what was then the National Cemetery System.

The Los Angeles National Cemetery opened as one of 11 facilities operated by the Veterans Administration, on lands shared with national veterans' homes or asylums for disabled soldiers. The Pacific Branch of the National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers was established in 1887 on Santa Monica ranch lands donated by Senator John P. Jones and Arcadia B. de Baker. The following year, the site grew by an additional 200 acres; in 1890, 20 more acres were appended for use as a veterans' cemetery. By this time, with more than 1,000 veterans in residence, a new hospital was erected in 1900. It was replaced in 1927 by Wadsworth Hospital, and a second facility, Brentwood Hospital, was also constructed in the 1920s.

Some of the built features are unusual, including an administration building-chapel, 1939-40, and the NCA's only indoor columbarium, 1940-41, both built by the Works Progress Administration in a distinctive Spanish Revival style of stucco and tile. The original gatehouse and entrance gates have been removed.

Two unusual canine burials distinguish Los Angeles National Cemetery, although this practice is prohibited today. Old Bonus, an adopted pet of residents in the soldiers’ home, and Blackout, a war dog wounded in the Pacific during World War II, are both buried here.




I believe that there are 14 Medal of Honor recipients buried here.

Medal of Honor Recipients
Landsman William F. Lukes (Korean Campaign of 1871) U. S. Navy, Company D. Korean Forts, June 9 & 10, 1871 (Section 7, Grave F-19).

Private Charles W. Rundle, (Civil War) U.S. Army, Company A, 116th Illinois Infantry. Vicksburg, Miss., May 22, 1863 (Section 34, Grave 1-11).

Sergeant George H. Eldridge, (Indian Campaigns) U.S. Army, Company C, 6th U.S. Calvary. Wichita River, Texas, July 12, 1870 (Section 37, Grave B-1).

Sergeant (then Corporal) Luther Kaltenbach, (Civil War) U.S. Army, Company F, 12 Iowa Infantry. Nashville, Tenn., Dec. 16, 1864 (Section 43, Grave A-15).

Sergeant First Class (then Sergeant) Chris Carr (medal awarded under name of Christos H. Karaberis), (World War II), U.S. Army, Company L, 337th Infantry, 85th Infantry Division. Guignola, Italy, Oct. 1 & 2, 1944 (Section 275, Grave G-15).

Private Robert H. Von Schlick (China Relief Expedition, Boxer Rebellion) U.S. Army, Infantry, Company C, 9th U.S. Infantry. Tientsin, China, July 13, 1900 (Section 81, Grave G-20).

Corporal Edwin Phoenix, (Indian Campaigns) U.S. Army, Company E, 4th U.S. Calvary. Red River Texas, Sept. 26-28, 1875 (Section 67, Grave H-22).

Wagoner Griffin Seward, (Indian Campaigns) U.S. Army, Company G, 8th U.S. Calvary. Chiricahua Mountains, Arizona Territory, Oct. 20, 1869 (Section 15, Grave D-10).

Farrier Samuel Porter, (Indian Campaigns) U.S. Army, Company L, 6th U.S. Calvary. Wichita River, Texas, July 12, 1870 (Section 40, Grave E-6).

Sergeant (then Private) Edward Murphy, (Indian Campaigns) U.S. Army, Company G, 1st U.S. Calvary. Chiricahua Mountains, Arizona Territory, Oct. 20, 1869 (Section 44, Grave 1-22).

Corporal Harry Harvey (true name was Harry Huckman), (Civil War) U. S. Army, Company A, 22nd New York Calvary. Waynesboro, Va., March 2, 1865 (Section 60, Grave E-4).

Color Sergeant George McKee, (Civil War), U.S. Army, Company D, 89th New York Infantry. Petersburg, Va., April 2, 1865 (Section 1, Grave G-2).

Coxswain Timothy Sullivan, (Civil War) U.S. Navy, USS Louisville. Battles in Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi, unknown date of action (Section 18, Grave H-2).

Corporal (then Private) James Sweeney, (Civil War) U.S. Army, Company A, 1st Vermont Cavalry. Cedar Creek, Va., Oct. 19, 1864 (Section 78, Grave P-3).



I have more photos here.

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6 Comments:

Blogger Marie's Two Cents said...

Beautiful Photos Word.

I cant believe the entire time I lived in LA I never visited that Memorial.

Gorgeous pictures :-)

Monday, May 28, 2007 2:10:00 PM  
Blogger Yankee Doodle said...

Nice post! Very informative and appropriate.

Monday, May 28, 2007 4:43:00 PM  
Blogger Little Miss Chatterbox said...

The photos are wonderful!!

I slept through the real world and the political realm in college too. I didn't wake up until after I graduated.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007 9:14:00 PM  
Blogger Gail A. said...

Thanks for sharing the photos & story. I chose to go to the local park to participate in the city ceremony. I think next year I'll have to do this one.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007 9:52:00 PM  
Blogger Skye said...

Word,

You always raise the bar in your postings - this one is truly outstanding.

Isn't always the case that we pass by what is right in front of us as we travel to a bright and shiny destination.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007 7:35:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Thank you guys.

Hi praise, coming from you, skye!

Thursday, May 31, 2007 12:56:00 AM  

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