Bruce Lee Memorial, Seattle
I don't think I really appreciated Bruce Lee until I saw a documentary about his life. The man was not only a martial arts phenomenon, but a self-made man..a writer, director, an entrepreneur and artist. Born on November 27, 1940, in San Francisco, Bruce was still a young man when he died on July 20, 1973. It is ironic and tragic that his son, Brandon, also died very young twenty years later in March, 1993.
We would have had to rent a car to visit this cemetery and so decided to skip it. Although we didn't visit it this time around, I definitely would like to see Bruce Lee's memorial. He is buried in Lake View Cemetary (Plot 276), Seattle (King County) and the grave of his son, Brandon, is next to him.
When I found out that the most famous and influential martial artist of all time, Bruce Lee and his son, Brandon Lee were interred in a cemetary (Lake View Cemetary) not too far from where I was staying, I just had to go pay my respects.
Growing up, I remember watching all the old Bruce Lee flicks and being so fascinated and awed by them, sometimes secretly wishing I was one of those beautiful Asian actresses gracefully beating my enemies up. Instead, I joined a Kali (Filipino stick fighting) club in college. My mom and I also encouraged my younger bro to explore various forms of martial arts, which he did, and he ended up participating in his university's wushu team and had a Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in our midst. Way cool!
But man, Bruce Lee changed the face of martial arts as we know it and so how tragic that he, and later his son would pass on so young. You just have to wonder sometimes....
From downtown, take the #10 bus on 1st and Union and get off at the very last stop in Capitol Hill next to Volunteer Park. Don't forget to ask your driver for a transfer. If you're fortunate enough to grab the #10 when Tim's driving, be nice to him and hopefully he'll hook you up with an extended transfer time.
When you enter the cemetary, head straight up the hill and don't mess with the paths or you'll get lost. Look for a huge granite cross at the top of the hill and the Lee's graves will be directly southeast of that (if you consider the top of the hill as north and the entrance as south). See first photo as point of reference. I was by myself when I visited, so it was kinda eery, but what spooked me out more was this huge raccoon just sunbathing in the middle of it all. Fortunately, Jim from Acasia Flowers came to drop off a delivery for the Lee's grave, courtesy of his French fans. Later, Jim was kind enough to give me a ride to Broadway in Capitoll Hill. Thanks to both bus driver Tim and delivery man Jim!
Bruce Lee and Brandon Lee are buried next to each other, their graves being in Lake View Cemetery in a hidden little part of Seattle away from the bustling streets of downtown. Semi-hidden behind some hedges, their beautiful tombstones stand side-by-side. Bruce's is a sandstone colored marble tombstone while his son Brandon's is a dark grey colored marble tombstone. There is a beautiful view that overlooks the water from this vantage point of the cemetery. This cemetery is adorned with some elaborate tombstones that I've never seen before, including one that looks like it's made out of wood. Possibly a lumberjack's grave, I'm not entirely sure. Yet another famous persons resting place that you must see. Pay your respects to the martial arts legend and his son. There's even a little bench to sit and reflect on, put forth by Linda and Shannon Lee. Lake View Cemetery is located in the Capitol Hill area. Along 15th Ave E. There's a quote on Brandon's tombstone that struck me as so beautiful and truly inspirational:
"Because we don't know when we'll die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustable well. Yet everything happens a certain number of times and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that's so deeply a part of your being that you can't conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. Perhaps not even that, how many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty, and yet it all seems limitless".
Live life to the fullest, in whatever way brings you joy, dear friends.
Being that I was so close to Bruce Lee, I had to seek him out. I set off on foot and probably walked about 10 miles over the course of the day to eventually find Bruce and Brandon Lee's grave.
Being a martial artist for 10 + years, it was an emotional experience.....to sit at Bruce Lee's grave, to meditate their, and to even to tenshoa kata in front of their grave. What a powerful moment.
To live such a short time, but to make such an impact. That is to have lived....and to continue living in spirit!
This was a great thing to do on my last day in Seattle as I'm a huge fan of Bruce Lee. Their gravesite is in Lake View Cemetery on the Capitol Hill area which is probably not an area that people usually stay at. So if you're downtown it's a little bit out of the way. But if you're a huge fan, you'll appreciate it. Their grave is pretty much in the center of the cemetary and if you can't find it, most likely all you have to do is follow where people are congregating and that's where it will be. I was surprised that when I got there very early on a weekday, I was able to find a line of people there waiting to pay their respects.
The cemetery, at 1554 15th Ave. E., is open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily.