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New Santa Monica Memorial Plans on View Monday

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark


Rusty's Surf

By Jason Islas
Staff Writer

May 24, 2013 -- The 75th annual Memorial Day service Monday at Santa Monica's Woodlawn Cemetery will feature the unveiling of a new memorial for Santa Monicans who have died in wars since the City's founding in 1875.

The event, which starts at 11 a.m., will also feature a flyover by World War II-era planes piloted by the Condor Squadron and a speech by former Santa Monica Fire Chief Ettore Berardinelli, a 31-year veteran of department and a six-year veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Berardinelli “joined the United States Army in 1969 in the unit designated 200th/201st Special Operations Detachment, Army Security Agency,” City staff said.

“He received 'top secret' security clearance and held the rank of Staff Sergeant when he was honorably discharged in 1975,” according to staff.

In that time, Berardinelli also served as a paratrooper, which he called the “high point” of his career.

While the event will feature the traditional music, food and tours of the Cemetery, it also will provide a glimpse of the initial designs of a new commemorative wall honoring Santa Monica's war dead.

The idea to build a small memorial for local residents who died in America's foreign wars occurred to Council member Bob Holbrook as he strolled through the gravestones at Woodlawn Cemetery before the start of last year's Memorial Day ceremony, at which he was the keynote speaker.

A year later, City staff has drafted a preliminary design for the monument that will feature the names of nearly 100 residents compiled over the course of last summer.

Space on the wall is reserved for those who died in service during wartime, irregardless of whether they died in combat, so long as they were born in, lived in or chose to be buried in Santa Monica.

Initial designs for the memorial, which will run along the walkway in front of the southern face of the Mausoleum, are modest.

“I think it's an ideal location,” said Holbrook, adding that it was “serene.”

The design is meant to be “something that is simple, timeless and accessible,” said Cultural Affairs Manager Jessica Cusick. “The kind of elegance everyone could relate to.”

Still, this is just a start.

“It's a preliminary design,” said Cusick. “The materials haven't been decided yet.”

While the City has found 97 names, going as far back as World War One, officials are asking residents to submit names of those missing from the list, which will be on view Monday.

“These people should be remembered here in Santa Monica,” Holbrook said.

The City – which hopes to build the $15,000-project entirely with private funds -- also is looking for contributions.

So far, the City has received a $500 contribution from a local veterans' group, Cusick said, as well as several pledges from local residents.

Thos interested can visit the City's website ( or send an email at

For more information about the Annual Memorial Day Observance, please contact Woodlawn Cemetery, Mortuary and Mausoleum at (310) 458-8654.

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