San Diego

Garden of Honor Dedicated to Fallen Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta

The new Sgt. Rafael Peralta Garden of Honor is made of bricks engraved with the names of local veterans

Southwestern College dedicated a new walkway and a flag garden after the fallen Marine and Navy Cross recipient Sgt. Rafael Peralta and in honor of San Diego veterans.

Bricks engraved with the names of local veterans were placed outside of the college's Veterans' Resource Center in Chula Vista Tuesday. 

The garden is named after Peralta, a San Diego native and U.S. military service member killed in Iraq on Nov. 15, 2004. According to the Navy Cross citation, the 25-year-old Peralta pulled a grenade to his body and saved his fellow Marines.

Student veterans are responsible for attending to the brick walkway and flag garden.

Peralta's family was on hand while the Wall of Honor bricks were installed by Jonathan White, the coordinator of Southwestern College Veterans' Resource Center.

Every morning, student veterans set up the American flag along with the POW flag and ones for various branches of the military in the garden, according to the college.

A few years ago, the U.S. Navy named a guided-missile destroyer after Peralta.


Peralta graduated from San Diego's Morse High School in 1997 and trained at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego in 2000. He is buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.


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