Many of the nation's Memorial Day ceremonies Monday will honor those who fell in long-ago wars, in order that they not be forgotten.
But the ceremony at the Mt. Soledad cross in San Diego will honor two former Navy SEALs killed more recently, under circumstances still hot with political controversy.
Plaques will be unveiled honoring Glen A. Doherty and Tyrone S. Woods, killed by a terrorist attack while working as security contractors at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
The two new plaques, joining some 3,200 plaques honoring individual service personnel, are a chance to “honor two people who gave it all for their country,” said Bruce Bailey, president and chief executive officer of the Mt. Soledad Memorial Assn.
The plaques are affixed on walls surrounding the cross.
Woods, 41, of Imperial Beach, and Doherty, 42, of Encinitas, were killed in the attack in September that also claimed the lives of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and information officer Sean Smith.
Issues involving that attack, and the Obama administration reaction during and after the incident, are the focus of political inquiry in Washington.
But the ceremony at the base of the hilltop cross, which affords a panoramic view of the region, will deal not with politics but with service and sacrifice. A Navy band will play, a fly-over of military planes is planned, and a Navy SEAL officer who served with Doherty will speak.
Several hundred people are expected to attend the 2 p.m. ceremony, including family members of Woods and Doherty.
“There is nothing more noble than service to your country and honoring those who have served in the past,” said Trenton Bonner, a trustee of the memorial association.