PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. -- "And they who for their country die shall fill an honored grave, for glory lights the soldier's tomb, and beauty weeps the brave."

This quote by early American poet Joseph Drake captures the meaning behind the rededication of the Presidio of Monterey Cemetery May 29.

Capitalizing on a warm sunny Saturday, Presidio of Monterey personnel welcomed several distinguished guests and veterans to the ceremony that commemorated the fix of what Garrison Commander Col. Darcy Brewer thought was an eyesore.

According to Brewer, before the renovation, the cemetery had not been maintained in a manner befitting those buried for honored military service.

Eroded or cracked gravestones were replaced and aligned where they once sunk into the ground with names barely legible. Landscaping leveled the ground, and sprinklers were installed to maintain the beauty for those resting beside the many service members that walk the Presidio grounds.

The rededication included distinguished speakers, such as, Maj. Gen. (retired) Frederick Lawson, Brig. Gen. (retired) Gerald Griffin, Col. Darcy Brewer and Sgt. 1st Class (retired) Jack Stewart.

Lawson spoke on the history of the Presidio and its cemetery, Griffin spoke on Memorial Day, Brewer talked about what went into the renovation and Stewart talked about the future Central Coast Veteran's Cemetery to be hosted on the former Fort Ord.

The ceremony concluded with a flute performance of "Amazing Grace" by Bill Nye and a Memorial Day lunch at Belas Dining Facility.

Of note, those that lie within the cemetery are:

- Pvt. George S. Johnson, Petrum R. Frasier and Thomas Polk, former Buffalo Soldiers from the 9th Cavalry Regiment, with Johnson being the first to be laid to rest here in 1904.

- Lanny Ochi Mistuuchi, infant son of Japanese military language instructor Sgt. Ahio Mistuuchi. Lanny is the first burial to be associated with the language school.

- Maj. Gen. Edward H. Plummer, Brig. Gen. Thomas E. Merril, and Brig. Gen. Harry D. Chamberlin are the general officers that rest here.

- Shiro Nagajima, a Japanese Prisoner of War, buried in December of 1945 after dying from an illness.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16