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Veteran's Wall Dedication

Saturday, Oct. 11, 2003

 

John Grijalva's dream came true Saturday, with the dedication of the Veteran's Memorial Wall.  John and the Veteran's Wall Committee worked tirelessly to raise the funds, get the permits, determine the location, and make the dream a reality.  Ms. Cynthia Fulton, mother of Donald J. Cline, Jr., a Sierra Madrean who lost his life in combat in Iraq, pulled the rope and removed the drape, revealing the granite based structure that features stainless steel likenesses of Sierra Madre veterans.  Council member Doug Hayes emceed the ceremony, attended by approximately 300.  Sierra Madre veterans Bud Switzer and Ernie Smith raised the flag on the flagpole for the first time, Mayor Bart Doyle spoke, a Marine Color Guard opened the ceremonies, Bill Garr of the Navy League presented proclamations, and Marine Colonel Joseph N. Smith, USMC (Ret.), Director of the Dept. of Military and Veterans Affairs for the County of Los Angeles, had to rein in his emotions as he spoke about the men he's had the honor of leading during his years of service.  Ninety percent of the rock used in the construction of the wall came from one rock, found in Sierra Madre and cut into pieces for this wall.  The flagpole didn't get put up until 9:30pm Friday night, but all was ready for the ceremony.  An interesting side note, at 7:30pm, as I was walking home from the Rotary Tri-tip dinner, I saw John Grijalva turning down Hermosa and parking near the Wall.  My first thought was that he was wanting to see the Wall at night, under the lighting.  Then I saw that Ed Clare and Bud Switzer, two members of the Committee were there, as well, and realized that these men had left their homes on a Saturday night because Ed had realized that since the lights for the flagpole were not yet installed, the flag was flying in the dark.  Out of respect for the flag, they gathered at the park, to lower it so that it would not fly without the proper lighting.  Somehow, I don't think most of today's generation would have even thought of it, much less made the effort to show that respect for our flag.  Kudos to you gentlemen.

 

A special dedication to Louie Van Iersel, Sr., a Sierra Madre Congressional Medal of Honor winner

Draped wall, prior to ceremony

Gordon Caldwell greets some friends from the VFW

Snookie Gregor, who goes to everything, was here with friends

Man of the hour John Grijalva with Col. Joseph Smith

Bud Switzer and Ernie Smith get ready to raise the flag.  Ernie Smith served in the Air Force, the Marines, and the Army

The flag goes up over the Veteran's Memorial Wall for the first time ever

Committee Member Bud Switzer gives instructions to Cynthia Fulton on the removal of the drape

There was a good crowd, estimated at 300

Council member George Maurer, City Manager Tamara Gates

The old North Church serves as a backdrop as Marines prepare for the ceremony

Landscape designer Lew Watanabe made it out for the ceremony

Another crowd shot, that's Ray Hall on keyboards

Joe Echenarria sang God Bless America and led the crowd on the Star Spangled Banner to open the ceremony

Marine Color Guard presents the colors

Glenn Lambdin read "A Soldier's Prayer"

John Grijalva thanks the committee and his wife for making his dream a reality

That's the committee in the front row

Doug Hayes emceed

Mayor Bart Doyle spoke

Col Joseph Smith says a few words

Bill Garr, President of the Navy League presented proclamations to the Committee Members

The veterans in the crowd stand to be recognized for their service

Bill Garr reads the proclamation

John Grijalva receives his proclamation

Cynthia Fulton is escorted by Ernie Smith and a gentleman named Steve Cateman(?) who has just returned from Iraq

Ed Clare assists with removal of the drape

Members of the Committee

Another shot of the Committee

Part of the wall

Donald Cline Jr.'s family sees his photo on the wall

Ditto

The crowd gets its first glimpses at the wall

Anne Tyler

A brick memorial thank you to the Committee

A distant shot to show the flag(pole)

A family picture

 

Bruce Goss, who cut the rock, was one of several who received thank you plaques from the Committee

 

 

 

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