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Bennington Memorial Through The Years

2009 July 18th, Saturday

2008 July 19th, Saturday

2007 July 21st Saturday




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USS Bennington Memorial, July 18, 2009

Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, Point Loma California

It just keeps getting better! If you are a history buff or a military historian you need to spend you next Memorial Day at Fort Rosecran's Cemetery. This S.A.R. member is busy handing out the itinerary with information on the history of the USS Bennington.


This year they invited the Naval Sea Cadets who honored the Bennington dead by putting flags and flowers on thier grave stones. It was very moving to see the tradition passed on to these little guys.

After the ceremony you can stroll around and read the grave markers and find some interesting facts. The one shown here is in Memory of the Mormon Battalion Whose members made the longest military march in U.S. History of over 2000 miles from Iowa to San Diego in 1846 - 1847.

You may like to have your picture taken in memory of the day with the Sons of the American Revolution or the Widows. We always go to a local resturarant afterwards, joins us for lunch! Even if you don't want lunch you can have a beverage and just get acquainted with some of the members of SAR.  Ask them to tell you about who they were related to back in 1776 and sit back and listen to great stories.




The families of the Bennington Dead expressed their appreciation for the presents of the widows. They felt was a very thoughtful addition.
The Bennington widows were represented by the San Diego Costume Guild.

See you in 2010!

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The Sons of the American Revolution

 San Diego Chapter, do it again!

July 19, 2008 

Bennington Memorial Ceremonies 2008

Busy, busy...This event is so well done it is sad that not more publicity is given to it.  We were handed programs of the event that were chock full of historic details and images of the event.  Also crediting the participants that volunteer, such as the bugler, the bagpiper and the Navy.  It's amazing all that goes into a production like this.  One of the descendents of  the Bennington explosion donated the personal belongings to the Maritime Museum of San Diego.  In addition to honoring the Bennington Dead they honored the 11 survivors of the explosion the went on to receive the Navy Medal of Honor and placed a wreath on the grave of the only one of these 11 buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.   

Want to know more about the Son's of the American Revolution San Diego Chapter? Here's their site.


Afterward the Fort Rosecrans ceremony, we went to have lunch at "The Fish Market" a restaurant right next to the USS Midway.   While enjoying lunch and conversation I learned that there was one more ceremony taking place right after lunch.  They fired their muskets and place a wreath and flowers into the bay, was the very site of the explosion of the USS Bennington.  







I have been to the USS Midway several times when it first opened but now I see the top deck was finally finished with an inventory of airplanes.  If you haven't been there lately it's time to go again... Another fun addition to the bay was this huge statue of the famous sailor kiss and more, I don't want to give it away.


Visit the Son of the American Revolution San Diego Chapter website for more events and photos.

July 21, 2007 

To The Bennington Dead

Via the yahoo group online, Mari, a fellow costumer invited me to this event that was sponsored by The Sons of the American didn't know what to expect but I knew I would have fun. She said to come in 1905 mourning clothes.  I learned a bit about San Diego History.  In short, the Navy's worst peacetime  disaster in 1905 when a boiler exploded on the USS Bennington in SD Bay. Sixty-five members of the crew perished.  Forty-seven of those who were buried in a mass grave at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in Point Loma.  The remainder were buried in other locations by their families.   This is the Monument to the left here with me dressed in 1905 Edwardian Mourning Widows Weeds and a member of S.A.R.  

My thanks to Kevin  for taking this shot of me here on the right, it's composed well. 


Arnold, the president of the Vermont chapter of the SAR came to give an eloquent speech on patriotism. Serving as a reminder of  our connection to each other.  We listened to the history of the Battle of Bennington of 1777.  His ancestor from Vermont had a Bennington connection. Here are two quotes I loved from his speech.

"what our great country stands for—honor, memory, sacrifice, strength, and most importantly a sense of connectedness as citizens, unified and resolute in our love for America—how are we all connected?—are you a compatriot of the Sons of the American Revolution, a member of the armed forces, a descendant of a family member who lost a loved one in the Bennington tragedy, a lover of patriotism, or perhaps all of the above"

"So—as I observe this memorial to the gunboat of the USS Bennington—I recognize that we will are all part of history.  Today’s ceremonies carry on the tradition of love that exists in our nation—a love of country, a respect for the past, and a resolute commitment to remember all those who have served our great nation of the United States of America, whether it be in 1777, 1905, or 2007 or anytime in between or beyond.  Thank You"

Margaret Riddle came from Asheville, NC to participate in this event. She was the grandniece of Ensign Perry.  This presentation board is just one of Margaret's presentation boards sharing with us photographs of the ship's crew and personal history of Ensign Newman Kershaw Perry.  I believe it was Margaret, who was behind reviving the memory of this tragedy.  She had me sobbing as she expressed her sentiments and personal family history.  Later, we met and she allowed me a close look at the fabulous double locket belonging to Newmen's sister; Laura Gunter (right-hand corner of board) that she was wearing. 


Tapps were played and they always made me emotional, then bag pipes played that bought on  the tears . As  I cried... 1777 style gun salute were  fired....smoke and all. I didn't expect to be so moved, it took everything in me to keep from sobbing......

Above is Margaret giving her speech in front of Fox 6 News.

I was very impressed at the turn out, not only the descendants of the Bennington Dead were there but the U.S. Navy at attention the whole time! and Fox News! who knew!

If you would like to know more about the tradition of public mourning in the Victorian Era, click here.











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