06/13/2013 // Justice News Flash: Featured Column // Kathleen Scanlan // (press release)

Memorial Day marks the official start of summer all around the United States. In San Francisco, the holiday is observed with ceremonies at the San Francisco National Cemetery located in the Presidio – the first National Park fully contained within a city. While most Americans are familiar with Arlington National Cemetery, fewer know of the western counterpart stretching above San Francisco Bay with million dollar views from the Golden Gate Bridge to Alcatraz Island. With more than 30,000 markers, it is a memorial to soldiers who fought in the Mexican War, the Indian Wars, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War as well as the wars of the 20th century. It’s a beautiful resting place for our country’s soldiers and sailors maintained by the Veteran Administration.

In San Francisco, Memorial Day also marks the unofficial start of the foggy season. If you’ve ever been a tourist here, chances are you bought a sweatshirt or a fleece on Fisherman’s Wharf. When you left your hotel there was blue sky and sunshine. At the furthest point possible from any warm clothes (if you even packed them) – and in about 10 minutes flat – the wind picked up, the fog rolled in, the sky turned grey and the temperature dropped at least 20 degrees. Welcome to Summer in San Francisco where nature’s air conditioner keeps us cool almost all summer long. How does it go? The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco. And no, it was not Mark Twain who said it.

At the risk of over-simplifying the science of it all, San Francisco’s famous summer fog is a natural phenomenon. The seasonal cold water currents that bring cold water down the Pacific coast from Alaska meet the hot dry air from the Central Valley of California at the mouth of San Francisco Bay which acts like a giant funnel. Where cold water meets hot air there is fog. While white buck oxfords, Panama hats and Bermuda shorts get dusted off for the rest of the United States, you’re more apt to want wool socks and down jackets to venture out to a BBQ in San Francisco in the summer.

For those in the know, San Francisco’s real summer weather arrives after Labor Day. During our summer this year, San Francisco will host the America’s Cup. Traditionally held off shore (“free of all headlands” was the rule), this year’s America’s Cup will be right in San Francisco Bay itself. And yes, there will be great views of the race from San Francisco National Cemetery. So, until summer arrives, we’ll continue fighting fraud from the fog.

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