EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — San Diego’s Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial features thousands of plaques, each one sharing a unique story of courage. And the best part is anyone from Pennsylvania can get the story behind their sacrifice.
“These walls with pictures of husbands, wives, brothers or servicemembers. There’s no other memorial in the country that does this,” said Neil O’Connell, the Executive Director of Mt. Soledad National Memorial.
More than 5000 black granite plaques line the walls of the Mt. Soledad Memorial. Every rank from the Revolutionary War to Present Day. Anyone who was honorably discharged no matter where they’re from can have a plaque here. And now the memorial is building more walls to honor their service to the country.
Five new walls will provide space for 2,000 more plaques. A part of the expansion is building on the existing website with an app where visitors can find the face they’re looking for, and the story behind their sacrifice from anywhere, including Pennsylvania.
But if you visit the memorial in Southern California in person, you’re in good hands.
“We’re supported by a team of 24 docents who take a watch up here and engage with the public, keep the memorial clean and tell the stories of these veterans that are on these walls,” O’Connell added.
They have a syllabus to study the remarkable military history remembered at the memorial, like Major Megan McClung, the first female Marine Corps Officer killed in Iraq.
Combat journalist Amy Forsythe served alongside McClung, even training with her at Camp Pendleton before deployment.
“I often actually imagine her talking to me, to us, to our group and I can hear her voice even to this day. As the first female Marine Officer to be killed in Iraq, that was significant and it got people’s attention,” said Amy Forsythe.