Senator Dodd Offers Mare Island Cemetery Resolution
SACRAMENTO – Senator Bill Dodd, D-Napa, introduced a resolution Wednesday supporting federal legislation from U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, to transfer the Mare Island Naval Cemetery to the Department of Veterans Affairs for repair and maintenance.
“The cemetery should be maintained to the highest standards for the military heroes who are buried there,” Sen. Dodd said. “Unfortunately, it has suffered physical deterioration over the years and the city of Vallejo can no longer afford to shoulder the costs of its upkeep. I believe the Department of Veterans Affairs is best positioned to restore the cemetery and provide perpetual care for this hallowed place.”
House Resolution 5588 will return to federal oversight the cemetery that is the oldest of its kind on the West Coast and is the final resting place for more than 900 fallen veterans. It was deeded to Vallejo with other property and buildings in 1996 when the Navy closed Mare Island Naval Shipyard. The cemetery’s return to federal authority is supported by city officials and more than 54,000 visitors who signed a petition requesting the action.
“Thank you to Senator Dodd for his support of my legislation to preserve the Mare Island Cemetery,” Rep. Thompson said. “This final resting place for our nation’s heroes is an important piece of our state and our country’s history and a sanctuary for our veterans. It must be maintained to the highest standards and I will continue working with local and state partners to find a solution that honors those who have served our nation in uniform.”
“The Mare Island Naval Cemetery is a continual reminder of both the selfless sacrifice of our service men and women and the proud history of our community’s contributions to securing liberty and freedom for millions around the world,” said Assemblymember Grayson, the principal co-author of Dodd’s resolution. “I am co-authoring this resolution with the hope these hallowed grounds will, in perpetuity, be cared for the way other military cemeteries are across the country. Our nation owes it to these sailors and their memories.”
Burials at the hillside cemetery began in 1856 and continued until 1921. Veterans interred there include Medal of Honor recipients and the daughter of national anthem writer Francis Scott Key. Dodd’s resolution, Senate Joint Resolution 26, would have the state of California officially call on Congress to pass Thompson’s legislation.
Senator Bill Dodd represents California’s 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Napa, Sonoma, Solano, Yolo, Sacramento, and Contra Costa Counties. You can learn more about Senator Dodd at www.sen.ca.gov/dodd.