I was on my way somewhere else. When I got off the bus I realized I was in one of those “you can’t get there from here” situations that often show up in my nightmares. But a daymare? I won’t go into the whole pathetic story but after a while I was gritting my teeth to keep back tears as the further I walked the more convoluted the circumstances became. To make a longer story short I ended up walking a few miles through a construction area posted with signs to keep pedestrians out. I survived to tell the tale and at the end of the tunnel there was light. That light turned out to be the Los Angeles National Cemetery.
I’ve lived in Los Angeles all my adult life, which as it happen is a VERY long time. I have walked and driven past the veteran’s cemetery in Westwood a gazillion times, if not two gazillion. I always say, one day I must go inside the gates and walk around. So, although I had not intended it to be, yesterday turned out to be the day.
Well-known as a supporter of US troops all over the world, Bob Hope’s name pops up all over the Los Angeles area in relationship to the military. So it was no surprise to see this plaque on the front of the Veterans Chapel in his honor. And just in time as he died the following year at 100 years old.
Driving by the cemetery I am always overwhelmed by the size (114 acres) and number of grave stones and markers.
Once inside the gates I realized it was many times bigger than I thought.
Interment is now closed at this cemetery. I don’t know where a veteran in the Los Angeles area is now buried. There must be another veterans cemetery somewhere in the area? In the photo above the Getty Center appears on the hillside above the cemetery. As it happens that is where I was aiming for!
As close together as these stones are set I was trying to imagine how a lawnmover would get in there to cut the grass. As I found out, an army of gardeners with weed whackers walk through the grounds.
Some of the graves are marked with upright stones as in the previous photos. In this area the stones are laid flat in the grass. I don’t know what the difference is. Cost? Aesthetic preference? I couldn’t find any information. Downtown Westwood is in the background.
I don’t know how many burials there are here. I do know that as far as military cemeteries go, the Los Angeles National Cemetery is second only in size to Arlington National Cemetery.
Watching this guy trim the tree scared the heck out of me. I don’t like heights to start with but zooming around in that bucket must take nerves of steel!
So I ended up having a very nice serendipitous afternoon after all. Below are some more photos of the cemetery. Click on any image for the slideshow:
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