By C.J. SALGADO
EAST LOS ANGELES — Workers have been busy during the past few months at Atlantic Park, giving this small but well-used green space some new life as well as extra attention to an overlooked but decades-old war and veterans memorial.
The obelisk-shaped monument was dedicated on May 30, 1930 during a Memorial Day Parade that ended at what was then called Belvedere Gardens Park. A plaque on the monument reads, “In memory of heroes of all American wars.”
According to a Los Angeles Times story at the time, over 2,000 ex-service men and members of service clubs marched in the parade. Orval C. Jordan and Millard F. Durham, who donated the monument, were both veterans, said Ansley Davies, a curator with the Los Angeles County Department of Parks. Both lived near the park, according to U.S. Census records.
Despite its central location in the park off of Atlantic Boulevard, the monument had been surrounded for years by rose bushes that partially obscured it from public view. Now, the roses are gone and have been replaced by a walkway that focuses attention on the obelisk, which appears to lean slightly to the north. Also, a new, central walkway from the nearby pool building makes the monument more visible and accessible. The parks department also plans to give the monument a fresh paint job and clean up the plaques.
In addition to giving the monument overdue attention, there are other improvements planned for Atlantic Park, according to Mike Ralston, Facilities Operations Manager for the parks department. Acacia trees and possibly some rose bushes will be planted as part of new landscaping, and new barbecue grilles and shade canopies are to be installed in the picnic areas. The pool building is scheduled to be renovated, too.
By Memorial Day, park visitors will be able to honor and pay tribute to veterans while enjoying the new park improvements and admiring the refurbished 86-year old monument. Who knows? Just maybe, one day, a Memorial Day Parade may once again return back to this park.
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