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Memorial Day Weekend 2011

May 30, 2011

A really memorable Memorial Day Weekend 2011, some photos and a map below.

Sunday, I got to attend the USS San Francisco memorial service, which honored the men serving aboard the USS San Francisco, a heavy cruiser which served throughout WWII. After the event, I got a chance to meet Pearl Harbor survivor Joe Whitt, who graciously spent a few minutes with me talking about his experiences. With less than 7,500 Pearl Harbor survivors left, talking to Joe really was a treat.

Preceding the memorial service, I went for a little hike along the Land’s End trail, which follows San Francisco’s rocky Northwestern Shore. Sunday was a great day to be outside, and I got some great shots of the Golden Gate bridge along the way. After the service, I was craving a burrito and found a good one at Chino’s Taqueria in the Richmond (sidenote: I l-o-v-e San Francisco, if for nothing else you can find a great, great burrito in any neighborhood, at any time).

On Memorial Day itself, I went to the services at Golden Gate National Cemetery, where vets and distinguished guests (even a former presidential candidate) spoke on the value of honoring our veterans. Following the service, I walked around the cemetery, there were flags on all 100,000+ graves, and many had flowers too. Walking among the myriad tombstones of men who died way, way too young really brings home the sacrifice our veterans made for this country. Along my walk, I did find Chester Nimitz‘s grave (and those of his staff, (e.g. Spruance) which they all agreed to while living, cool) among other notables (and selected randoms, whom I tried to learn more about when I got home).

In all, a really great weekend. I do kick myself for having not had a chance to talk to more vets (esp. WWII) over the years, their bunch is really fading away quickly, and the stories they tell are all so extraordinary (along those same lines, I recently started reading The Good War — An Oral History of WWII, which I highly, highly, highly recommend for anyone wanting to hear their stories).

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