This memorial is located within the 170-acre Mount Soledad Natural Park, two miles east of La Jolla. Following the Mexican-American War, the federal government transferred control of Mount Soledad to the City of San Diego in 1874, which ultimately designated the site as parkland in 1916. Beginning in 1913, a series of crosses was erected on the hill summit, with architect Donald Campbell designing the present version in 1954. Shortly afterwards, the American Legion Post 275 of La Jolla dedicated the monument as a memorial honoring the casualties of both World Wars and the Korean War. In 1989 the city was sued for allowing a religious symbol on public property. Lasting for nearly three decades, the legal dispute was declared moot in 2016 after the land immediately surrounding the cross was transferred to the Mt Soledad National Veterans Memorial Association. Initially called the "Mount Soledad Easter Cross,” the cross was renamed the “Mount Soledad Cross” in the 1980s and “Mt. Soledad National Veteran’s Memorial” in 2016.
Perched atop Mount Soledad, a 29-foot-tall Latin cross sits on an ten-foot high, circular platform with views of the Pacific coast and Rose Canyon. The cross, a concrete construction with hollow segments, is surrounded by concentric rings of terraces that radiate from a central staircase. The terraces were designed by James Alcorn of Alcorn & Benton Architects and built in 2000. Etched with the faces and names of veterans, a series of black granite memorials were added incrementally between 2000 and 2012. Initially honoring veterans of all five military branches and the merchant marine during the Second World War, additional walls were later installed to commemorate veterans of other conflicts. On the eastern side of the cross, a small, arrowhead-shaped lawn gently descends to meet a circular drive.