Most of the year, this peaceful oasis of green located amid towering sky-scrapers and a noisy freeway is a very quiet place.

The caretakers and maintenance men spend their days mowing lawns, trimming trees and clearing debris from the 83,000-or-so headstones.It is a resting place.

But this weekend, thousands are converging on the Los Angeles National Cemetery to pay their respects to veteran relatives. Others will come to remember a relative in a veterans cemetery far away. Others will come to remember old friends.

The Memorial Day holiday is for many people no more than a three-day weekend. Three days for picnics and parties.

But for Jim Dittmar, who cares for the cemetery; Lucy Devenney, who manages it; and many war veterans, Memorial Day is about the people who fought in our wars.

It is about the men and women buried in the soil of this cemetery and the other 114 national cemeteries across the country.

Since 1981, Dittmar has been a caretaker at the cemetery. He knows it better than anyone else who works there, though he readily admits there's much he doesn't know.

Dittmar, who served eight tours in Southeast Asia in the Special Forces, knows where all the Medal of Honor winners are buried. And he knows what many of them did to earn their country's highest battle decoration.

He knows what all the religious symbols on the stones stand for. And he knows mountain man Jeremiah Johnson was once buried there and that Wyatt Earp's father still is.

And he knows that this weekend, thousands will make the trip across the country to pay tribute to a fallen family member or a veteran acquaintance buried there.

And then the cemetery will grow quiet again, Dittmar said, with only a handful of daily visits.