OCEANSIDE — To honor veterans and past Oceanside residents, volunteers cleaned up headstones, removed weeds and placed American flags on gravesites at the Oceanview Cemetery on Nov. 10.
Annual cleanup of the historic Oceanview Cemetery at 1300 S. Coast Highway 101 began 15 years ago when Girl Scout troop leader Tanisha Garvin was looking for an opportunity for her troop to learn about local history and complete community service work. The troop took on cemetery cleanup as a project.
The cemetery had become so overgrown with tall weeds that many of the recorded grave markers could not be found.
Since efforts began 15 years ago, the number of unlocated grave markers has been cut down to about 25.
Garvin said cleanup efforts continue to uncover grave markers each year.
“We’re always uncovering headstones,” Garvin said. “In the 1990s the headstones that were flat ones had sunk. There wasn’t any regular maintenance happening.”
Over the years community volunteers have come out to help with the cleanup efforts. Some years as many as 100 people show up to help.
To tackle the task a section of the cemetery where grave markers are recorded to be located is weeded. Garvin keeps a record of cleanup efforts and results.
In addition to weeding, grave markers are cleaned and American flags are put on the plots of veterans who were put to rest there.
“It’s a unique way to learn about Oceanside history,” Garvin said.
She added that she has received a lot of appreciation from families who have previously been unable at locate the resting place of a loved one.
Grave markers date back to the1800s. Those markers dated before 1895 are likely deceased who were relocated from a cemetery formerly located on Vista Way where the Hunter Steakhouse restaurant now stands.
Oceanview Cemetery cleanups are held the Saturday before Veterans Day and Memorial Day.