Presidio of San Francisco (May 18, 2009) -- The Presidio hosts the 141st San Francisco Memorial Day Ceremony at the San Francisco National Cemetery in the Presidio on Monday, May 25 to honor the more than one million Americans killed while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Frequently drawing more than 2,000 people, the Presidio ceremony is one of the largest Memorial Day events in the nation.
Events begin at 10:30 am with a parade of veterans and distinguished guests from the Presidio's Main Post Parade Ground (Montgomery St. and Sheridan Ave.) to the cemetery at 1 Lincoln Boulevard. Formal ceremonies begin at 11:00 am in the cemetery and will include a 21-gun salute and a special tribute to Americans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as World War I veterans and the Buffalo Soldiers.
Formed by Congress in 1866 following the Civil War, the Buffalo Soldiers made up the first peacetime, all-black regiments in the regular U.S. Army. Renowned for their bravery, they played an important role in the development of the West -- protecting settlers, building forts and roads, and mapping the wilderness, even serving as some of the first National Park Service "rangers." For a period of time, several hundred were stationed at the Presidio before shipping out to fight in the War in the Philippines. Four hundred and fifty Buffalo Soldiers are buried in the National Cemetery. Their headstones are quiet reminders of the sacrifice and lasting contributions made by African-American soldiers to the country and to the Presidio.
The National Cemetery in the Presidio is a designated National Historic Landmark District. More than 35,000 veterans and their dependents, dating back to the 1846 war with Mexico, are buried there. It has long been a tradition for the Boy Scouts to decorate each grave in the cemetery with an American flag on Memorial Day.
Following the ceremony, Park Rangers will lead free, 30-minute walks through the cemetery highlighting the lives of Medal of Honor recipients and other noteworthy soldiers.
The day concludes at 1 pm with an interfaith service at the Presidio's Main Post Chapel, 130 Fisher Loop, at Sheridan Avenue.
A free Memorial Day shuttle will provide service from the Main Post to the National Cemetery beginning at 9 am and running through 1 pm.
For more information about the Presidio's Memorial Day Events visitwww.presidio.gov or call 415-561-5418.
The Presidio Trust was established by the United States Congress in 1996 to oversee the Presidio of San Francisco, an urban national park located at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. The 1,500-acre site contains expansive open space and spectacular views, a 300-acre historic forest, and rare and endangered plants and wildlife. It also comprises nearly 6 million square feet of buildings, including 469 historic structures that contribute to its status as a National Historic Landmark District."