Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery - a shift in policy?
- It was a very quiet Saturday morning at about 10 a.m.
I was walking in the NW quadrant loop of Fort Rosecrans National
Cemetery on Point Loma, San Diego, listening for warblers and
appreciating the magnificent morning blue sky when a golf cart
approached. I recognized the driver as he stopped the cart in front
of me, shut the motor off, and engaged the brake. I thought, "Oh
boy, here it comes."
"Good morning," I greeted, "sure is a beautiful day." He
replied, "Yes, it is," and extended his hand, "I'm William
Livingston, the cemetery director."
I shook his hand and replied, "Hi. Terry Hunefeld."
"I believe we've met," he said with a smile.
"I believe so," I agreed.
He went on, "I read your letter on the internet." Still smiling.
He was being so cordial, I didn't know what to think. I managed to
reply, "Mr. Livingston, I speak for many when I say that we respect
your views concerning the hallowed ground of this cemetery. I
certainly hope we can work together."
Mr. Livingston then went on to talk about how there seems to be an
honest difference of opinion on how to interpret the
term "recreational activities" as they relate to national cemeteries,
how he is committed to ensuring that the sanctity of the cemetery is
respected and how he is just doing his job as instructed from the
powers that be.
I replied that myself and many others understand that Fort Rosecrans
National Cemetery is a shine to those who have served our country,
emphasizing the utmost respect we have for the ground on which we
walk, the respect we have for Mr. Livingston in doing his job, and
how sincere we are in hoping that we can establish a dialogue to do
whatever we can as an informal community to ensure that other
visitors from other areas realize the sacred ground they walk on.
We talked for about ten minutes he speaking to the enormous sense
of responsibility and commitment he feels to his position me to the
profound respect our community has for the cemetery ground on which
Mr. Livingston stopped short of making any commitments, alluding
to "the powers that be" being the ones who will make the final call.
My sense is that he is not overjoyed with the idea of people walking
through the cemetery with binoculars, but has resigned himself to the
idea... for now. One thing I know for a fact: Mr. Livingston takes
his job very seriously, with a great deal of pride and a deep sense
of obligation to those laid to rest in the cemetery. He sees them as
under his care.
I assured Mr. Livingston that we as a community have the utmost
respect for the cemetery, are already very active in reminding others
of the sanctity of the ground, and how we would be honored to engage
in dialogue to help him achieve his objectives of ensuring that the
ongoing sanctity of the cemetery is maintained.
We then discussed the difference between American Crows and Common
Ravens, and the price the Navy charges the cemetery for water (a 600%
markup from what the Navy pays the city!)
He then said, "We're trying to green this place up for you by
We shook hands again and wished each other a good day. Off we went
in two separate directions, he in his golf cart towards the dip, me
to investigate that flash of yellow in the pines at the north
Terry Hunefeld, Leucadia