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San Diego's National Cemeteries Start Returning To Normal This Memorial Day

Mourners return to Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery to honor the dead on Memorial Day, May 31, 2021.
Steve Walsh
Mourners return to Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery to honor the dead on Memorial Day, May 31, 2021.

With two national cemeteries, San Diego has long been a focus of those remembering the fallen. Those cemeteries were again open to the public Monday as things slowly return to normal.

Jay Nash is a former Marine. His dad was in the Navy.

San Diego’s National Cemeteries Start Returning To Normal This Memorial Day
Listen to this story by Steve Walsh

“I’m here just to show my daughter what this day is all about,” Nash said.

Nash’s dad died before the COVID-19 outbreak and is buried on the east coast. After a year of isolation, coming out to Fort Rosecrans was a chance for the generations to connect.

“We all took a step back to appreciate one of the things we lost in the COVID and this is one of them,” he said.

Last year on Memorial Day, the Fort Rosecrans and Miramar National Cemeteries were closed to the public. Ceremonies, including funerals, were severely restricted. This year the restrictions were removed too late to plan the normal remembrances, according to Cemetery Director Grata Hamilton.

“We placed a wreath in a private ceremony at Miramar and at Fort Rosecrans in honor of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice,” she said.

RELATED: San Diego’s National Cemeteries Honor Fallen Service Members On Memorial Day

The national cemeteries also held a virtual Memorial Day ceremony online Monday.

Burials continued throughout the pandemic. Loved ones were given the option to hold a ceremony after the restrictions were lifted, so attendance is expected to increase in the coming months. Parking was limited at Fort Rosecrans, as people went from grave site to grave site, looking for their loved ones.