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Council to Vote on War Memorial at Santa Monica's Woodlawn Cemetery

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark
By Jason Islas
Staff Writer

February 11, 2013 -- The Santa Monica City Council will decide Tuesday whether to start raising up to $15,000 for a memorial at Woodlawn Cemetery that would commemorate nearly 100 locals who have died in America's foreign wars.

If the Council approves staff recommendation, a plaque listing the names of Santa Monicans who died would be installed “directly adjacent to the primary entrance to the Mausoleum,” according to staff.

“Hopefully, it will be simple, elegant,” said Council member Bob Holbrook, who thought of the idea on Memorial Day last year.

Over the summer, an intern working with the City Manager's Office identified 97 locals who died fighting for their country starting with the First World War.

“Given the limited budget considerations, staff recommends a respectful, traditional commemoration wall listing the names of those who have died with the potential to add more names,” staff said.

With Santa Monica strapped for cash, the City will look to donors to help fund the project, according to the staff report.

“I think it's about time that we honored people from Santa Monica who fought in previous wars,” said one potential donor, who wished to remain anonymous.

The local businessman recalled that he knew at least one person, a classmate of his wife, who was killed during the Vietnam War.

“Honoring the veterans is the least we can do,” he said. “We shouldn't forget.”

If the Council approves the project, staff will draw up concepts in time to present them to the public at the 75th Annual Memorial Day event at Woodlawn Cemetery this May.

The event, staff said, provides the occasion to initiate the project as well as a campaign to raise the necessary funds for the commemoration wall.

“The event would provide an opportunity to display design concepts for the proposed commemoration wall and garner support for the project,” staff said.

Since Santa Monica was incorporated in 1875, the U.S. has been involved in seven major military conflicts, starting with the four-month-long Spanish-American War in 1898.

However, the bayside city did not lose any of its residents until America entered World War I in 1917, according to records, which identified eight Santa Monica residents among the slain.

World War II exacted the heaviest toll, with 51 Santa Monica residents dying in the European and Pacific theaters between 1941 and 1945.

In the Korean War, Santa Monica lost 13 residents and 23 in Vietnam. One resident died during the First Gulf War.

Holbrook said that those interested in donating to the project should contact the City Manager's Office.

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