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A Memorial Day to Remember

The unveiling of the Obelisk. Photo by Juanita Gates.

It was an emotional and patriotic Memorial Day, a day that saw the City of Murrieta dedicate their brand new Veterans Memorial at Town Square Park to the brave men and women who have served and defended this country of ours.  Hundreds attended the ceremony that started at 10:00 a.m. as the first phase of this project – a World War II Wall and an Obelisk that pays tribute to each branch of the U.S. military – were unveiled.

The purpose of this project, to quote the City of Murrieta’s website, is to:

…create and maintain a dignified Veterans memorial reflecting contributions made by veterans from all branches of the military throughout the history of the United States, and to acknowledge and honor the courage, commitment, and heroism demonstrated by all Veterans past and present.

A host of dignitaries, from Murrieta Mayor Kelly Bennett to Murrieta Councilman Rick Gibbs to State Senator Dennis Hollingsworth to U.S. Representative Mary Bono Mack (among others), told stirring stories today, each having a personal connection to the U.S. military and World War II in particular.  The bloody five week battle of Iwo Jima, the Allied landing at Omaha Beach on D-Day, and B-17 bomber air raids over Germany each were highlighted by the speakers mentioned above, which gave a very human touch to the proceedings.  Each person, at some point during their respective speech, also had to take pause to collect themselves, as their moving stories hit home.  Tears were shed in the audience as well.

Photo by Juanita Gates.

We also heard about December 7, 1941 – Pearl Harbor Day – via Reverend Robert Ruffato.  A WWII Survivor, Rev. Ruffato regularly speaks to high school audiences, giving young men and women his first-person account of perhaps the gravest day in American history.   A man of our “greatest generation,” his story was eye-opening and sobering.  From his experience, he has also become a man of peace, and left the podium with his message of “No more wars – power to the people.”

After the day’s speakers finished their narratives, the unveiling of the Obelisk and the World War II Wall took place.  Covered the entire morning by parachutes, the two granite monuments finally became the focal points of the ceremony once the parachutes were lifted.  The Obelisk, with an inlaid granite American flag set in a base honoring the five levels of service (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard), is the tallest of the eventual 8 monuments, while the WWII Wall is comprised of images of those that served taken from pictures of actual events or from renderings, etched in its black granite.  Both are gorgeous and honorable monuments.  Eventually, each major conflict will have its own wall similar to that of the WWII Wall.

The ceremony also included lovely renditions of  “The Star Spangled Banner,” “God Bless America,” and “America The Beautiful,” performed by Rosalie Porter and Dave Musgrave.  The flyover of a Boeing C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft, during “America The Beautiful,” was also a highlight of the day.

Visit the Veterans Memorial Monument at Murrieta’s Town Square Park, located at One Town Square, 24601 Jefferson Ave., Murrieta, CA 92562.  For information, call 951-304-2489.

Photo by Juanita Gates.

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