My First Connection with the Marines’ Memorial . . .

April 20, 2021

I am a fourth generation San Franciscan and a fourth generation Army officer. During one of my family’s postings to the Presidio in the early 1950’s, I attended St. Ignatius High School (it was then located at Turk and Stanyon Streets near the northeast corner of Golden Gate Park). The original school had no auditorium, so each year we held our school stage play downtown in the auditorium of a building on Sutter Street. I knew nothing about the building except that it was a very nice place, had the perfect auditorium for our school plays, and was easy to get to by street car from the Presidio.

It was not until after I retired from the Army that I happened upon the Marine Corps Memorial Hotel in one of my frequent visits to San Francisco. When I first walked in, I thought, “This place seems very familiar,” but I wasn’t sure why. Then a staff member gave me a tour of the building, and when I saw the auditorium ─ Voila! ─ I realized I actually had been there repeatedly back in my high school days. What a small world! I was thrilled to reconnect with the past, and was so pleased with everything about the hotel, I became a Life Member of the Marines’ Memorial Association.

John H. Stokes III (Colonel, US Army, Ret.)