The National Cemetery of the Pacific - "The Punchbowl"
This is the only cemetery I have ever visited which was formed from the natural crater of a volcano! It is beautiful, and very different from other veteran's cemeteries because instead of rows of crosses the grave markers lie flat on the ground. The natural beauty of the crater can be appreciated because the graves are not immediately visible. On the slopes of the crater are columbarium for cremated remains. In letters I read written in the 1800s, John O. Dominis and other guests at Washington Place used to ride horses up to the Punchbowl. It must have been a wonderful natural landmark, even 150 years ago.
The cemetery was opened in 1949 for bodies shipped from overseas in the wake of World War II. Over 13,000 soldiers who died in the Pacific Theater of WWII are buried here. There are also the unmarked remains of soldiers who died at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. Soldiers from Korea and Vietnam, also considered Pacific wars, are also buried here.
One of the finest views of Oahu can be seen from a viewing platform on the highest rim of the crater.
The nationwide website for locating veteran's graves http://gravelocator.cem.va.gov/j2ee/servlet/NGL_v1
Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo