Sunsets don’t get too much better than this. The beautiful Point Loma is one of the last parts of the United States to receive the setting sun, and we happened to hit it on such a beautiful day. We had just finished a good day walking around the USS Midway and exploring the Hotel del Coronado. My mother wanted to drive over to the neighboring Point Loma in the hopes that we could stand out on the point for sunset! Much to our surprise, the actual National Monument gates were closed for the day, so we had to settle instead for the military cemetery. What transpired here was one of the greatest sunsets and experiences I’ve ever had.
I’m not sure if I’ve been to any military cemeteries, and if I have, they were old and on the east coast. Those cemeteries reflected the Civil War and the Revolutionary War, two wars that shaped our country into what it is today. Here, the cemetery spanned wars from World War I to Iraq and Afghanistan. Some of these headstones marked the graves of men who had fought in three separate wars. So many of these men had served in two wars as well. It must’ve been a heck of a hard time for their mothers and fathers back home, not to mention their spouses and siblings.
I tried counting the rows and columns to see if I could figure out how many were buried in certain sections of the cemetery. But, as I counted, I realized the rolling hills contained more and more headstones, with more buried dead lying underneath. It truly was a humbling moment. Then came one of the most humbling moments of all.
As we drove through the cemetery, we saw the USS Nimitz, the aircraft carrier we had seen only hours before, headed out to sea. From our vantage point, we overlooked rows and rows of headstones to the cold waters below, watching the Nimitz, with live sailors and marines, head out on active duty. I thought in my head,
"How symbolic, how beautiful is it, that these old soldiers, these old marines, these old sailors and old airmen watch their fellow servicemembers embark on their next mission, as they lay in peace upon this beautiful hill."
I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, and, able to capture both photos and videos! From here, we walked through the cemetery a little bit more, catching the final moments of the setting sun. We walked through throngs and throngs of headstones. It was just never-ending…
As the sun slowly set over the ocean, a quiet but distinct horn played from over yonder. The sun’s heat slowly left the land and a cold breeze blew in from over the ocean, cooling off the land we were standing on. I watched the ocean as I felt the crisp air on my face, the wind running through my hair. It’s good to be free, I thought, and it’s thanks to all of these men and women buried here and abroad that I can stand here, admiring the view, taking photos, and living peacefully.
The tone of this blog is quite different from the usual – but then again, so are non-hiking or outdoors-related blogs! I’m quite a deep, reflective person, and this blog allowed me to get some of my deeper thoughts out there, which I quite enjoyed! I hope to do more of these in the future, but those will only be when I feel like writing those. I’ll leave you with one final shot of the day. I’ve witnessed some sunsets in my lifetime; this had to be one of the best I’ve ever seen.
Next blog: San Diego is done! On to more California.