SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – Hundreds of people who were family, friends and others came to Miramar National Cemetery Thursday to celebrate the life of Brigadier Gen. Robert Cardenas.
Cardenas died March 10 at the age of 102. He was brought in a horse-drawn carriage to the funeral ceremony which included full military honors
Plenty of memories and stories were shared during the eulogy for Cardenas and his remarkable career and life.
Cardenas’ son, Michael, told ABC 10News of his father’s legacy, "I think over the years I finally figured it out that it wasn't about trying to match his achievements. It was really trying to be the kind of guy he was. And he loved his country. He loved being an American."
Other reflected on their many years of friendship with Cardenas.
"He had an amazing presence, a commanding presence,” said longtime friend George Welsh. "Bob was all anything and everything that had to do with veterans, especially this city."
Cardenas spent his career in the air and on the ground during lengthy service time in the U.S. Air Force. He served in aerial combat and leadership roles in different conflicts. He received multiple medals and commendations for his many years of service.
He was also inducted into the International Air & Space Hall of Fame in San Diego in 2008.
Arguably one of his most well-known accomplishments is helping with the breaking of the sound barrier in 1947.
Locally, Cardenas is known for also helping push for the creation of his final resting place, the Miramar National Cemetery.
"And he loved it so much. He loved the horse and carriage when they got that setup, the Avenue of Flags. This place was to him was somewhere special. So, him being laid to rest his is beautiful for us,” Michael Cardenas said.
A sight at the funeral that's as majestic as the man being honored, a B-2 bomber flying overhead. It was something that touched the Cardenas family and others.
"He told me the only thing he wanted at his funeral was a fly-by. And he wanted a B-2 because he flew the flying wing which is the predecessor to this,” Cardenas said. "It's almost as if I felt like in a way it was a perfect send off for him. Almost as if he was in the plane flying it and leaving us."