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History of the Clark Veterans Cemetery
The Clark Veterans Cemetery can trace its history to 1900 after the conclusion of the Spanish-American War . As a result of the war, the US inherited the Philippines from Spain and established a number of US Army posts throughout the islands, including a large Army post in Manila named Fort William McKinley and an even larger US Army Cavalry Post 50 miles north of Manila called Fort Stotsenburg (now Clark).
Similarly the US Navy, after Commodore Perry defeated the Spanish Navy in Manila Bay, created naval bases including one at Sangley Point in Cavite. Many of these military installations had post cemeteries, the largest being the cemetery at Fort McKinley in Manila. During WW II, the Fort McKinley military post cemetery was the scene of heavy fighting because it was strategically situated on a hill that overlooked the city and Manila Bay. During the battle to liberate Manila in early 1945, thousands of graves and cemetery records were lost or damaged, including a large marble obelisk Monument to the Unknown Dead.
After the war, in 1946, the US and Philippine Government determined that this same site would be the best location for a new cemetery and memorial to honor those who died throughout Southeast Asia during WW II. However, in order to accommodate as many as 17,000 WW II remains, the US Government had to find a new home for the thousands of non WW II dead already buried there. That new home was to be at Fort Stotsenburg (now Clark). From January to May 1948, all the non WWII dead at the Fort McKinley post cemetery were disinterred and relocated to the newly created military post cemetery at Fort Stotsenburg which today is known as the Clark Veterans Cemetery.
Three other older US military post cemeteries were also moved and relocated to this new consolidated non WW II military post cemetery at Fort Stotsenburg. These three cemeteries were the USN Sangley Point Military Cemetery and two smaller and older military cemeteries that had previously existed at Fort Stotsenburg called Stotsenburg I and II. Later, in 1949, Fort Stotsenburg itself was transferred from the Army to the USAF and renamed Clark Air Force Base. This is the present site of the Clark Veterans Cemetery.