Mt. Soledad Memorial Day ceremony honors Marines in ‘Darkhorse’ unit killed in Afghanistan – FOX 5 San Diego

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SAN DIEGO (FOX 5/KUSI) — Sitting high atop Mt. Soledad in La Jolla is a veteran’s memorial unlike any other.

More than 6,000 veteran tributes line the 11 curved walls, telling the story of immense loss and love for our country.

“All service men and women we honor today, and remember those who have passed and gone before us,” said Neil O’Connell, executive director, Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial.

The Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial is honoring U.S. Marines killed in the Battle of Sangin, Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in the fall and winter of 2010 and 2011.

The Marines were assigned to a unit based at Camp Pendleton — Third Battalion, Fifth Marine Regiment, known as “Darkhorse.” Their deployment to Afghanistan was the deadliest of the war — leaving more than 200 Marines wounded and 25 dead. It marked the highest number of casualties of any unit throughout the 10-year war.

“Through the process of applying these plaques, our docents learn about these individuals and they get to tell their stories, therefore we preserve the legacy of our veterans,” said O’Connell.

New plaques honoring the Marines are being added to the memorial.

“We’d love the public to embrace this day and understand that this is a day we ask you to give 90 minutes of your time and take a pause and think about it,” added O’Connell.

If you’re interested in paying the Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial a visit, it is open until 10 p.m. on Memorial Day at 6905 La Jolla Scenic Drive South.

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