Presidio of San Francisco (November 4, 2009) -- Tucked into the woods above the San Francisco National Cemetery, the Presidio's fourth major scenic overlook provides a contemplative vantage point commemorating the sacrifices of American soldiers and honoring their service to the nation. The National Cemetery Overlook will be formally dedicated at a special Veterans Day ceremony Wednesday, November 11 at 9:30 am.
A new trail, fully accessible to people with disabilities, takes visitors through a series of stone walls inscribed with messages and quotes about service and sacrifice. The trail winds its way through the historic Presidio forest, ending in a seating area offering sweeping views across the cemetery to the Golden Gate Bridge, Marin Headlands and San Francisco Bay. It was designed to provide intimate spaces for quiet contemplation.
"I hope that the overlook will inspire visitors to reflect upon the sacrifice of our nation's veterans," said Craig Middleton, Presidio Trust Executive Director. "The Presidio has always been a place of service; we are proud to honor the men and women who have served, or currently serve, in the armed forces."
The poem "The Young Dead Soldiers" by Archibald MacLeish is inscribed on the stone walls of the overlook. Poet Laureate Robert Hass will read from the poem at the opening ceremony. The trail leading to the overlook can be accessed from the Bay Area Ridge Trail.
More than 30,000 Americans have been laid to rest at the cemetery including Civil War generals, Medal of Honor recipients, Buffalo Soldiers, a Union Spy, and Congressman Philip Burton who championed the creation of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
The overlook, a project of the Presidio Trust with support from the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, is the fourth of eight overlooks planned as part of the Presidio Trails, Bikeways and Overlook Campaign. This overlook was made possible through a generous gift from Robert and Kathy Burke.
"We are extremely grateful to the Burke's for their generous contributions to the Presidio," said Greg Moore, Executive Director of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. "Their gift provides an inspirational setting to appreciate the Presidio's history, beauty, and longstanding service to our country."
The Presidio Trails, Bikeways and Overlooks Campaign was kicked off with a lead gift to the Parks Conservancy from the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund in 2007. Since that time, trail improvements have been implemented throughout the Presidio through this partnership of the Presidio Trust, Parks Conservancy, and National Park Service.
The Presidio Trust was established by the United States Congress in 1996 to administer the Presidio of San Francisco, an urban national park located at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. The areas overseen by the Trust include expansive open space and spectacular views, a 300-acre historic forest, and rare and endangered plants and wildlife. The park comprises nearly 6 million square feet of buildings, including 469 historic structures that contribute to the Presidio's status as a National Historic Landmark District."