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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Restored Echo Park monument pays tribute to those who served in the “War to End All Wars”

WWI memorial in Elysian Park

A restored monument at the Victory Memorial Grove was unveiled on Flag Day 2017

ECHO PARK —  There was music, poetry and tears. About 50 people, including military veterans, gathered on a hilltop this past Flag Day to rededicate the restored Victory Memorial Grove, a nearly century-old monument to Veterans of World War I.

The restoration of the memorial  is part of efforts to commemorate the centennial of  the nation’s entry into World War I, also known as The Great War and The War to End All Wars. Courtland Jindra,  a member of the California WWI Centennial Task Force, worked with the Hollywood American Legion Post 43 and the Los Angeles Eschscholtzia Chapter Daughters to raise funds and recruit volunteers for the restoration.

Flag Day service at WWI Memorial in Elysian Park

The WWI plaque contains the name of 21 men and one woman | Photo by Sandy Driscoll

The rededication ceremony was held on Flag Day, June 14 — 96 years after the original  ceremony. The program included the LAPD Honor Guard and the Santa Monica Oceanaires, a group of men who sang the National Anthem, Grand Old Flag, God Bless America and An Irish Blessing, all a cappella, said Sandy Driscoll, who attended the morning ceremony and took photos.  Poems were read and a roll call of honor was held for the 21 men and one woman who are honored on the original plaque.  As each short biography was read, a volunteer walked to the memorial and placed a red carnation over the top.  After the unveiling, ‘Taps’ was played.

Said Driscoll:

“My most heartfelt moment was afterwards, when I shook the hand of a proud WWII veteran and thanked him for his service.  He said, ‘Thank you so much for coming.  It means a lot.  This brings back so many memories for me.’ And then, with tears glistening in his eyes he added ‘and it makes me think of my friends who did not make it.'”

Flag Day service at WWI Memorial in Elysian Park

Vietnam War veteran Peter Lassen watches as a woman waits to lay her carnation on the memorial tablet | Photo by Sandy Driscoll

Flag Day service at WWI Memorial in Elysian Park

Man wears a WWI uniform while standing guard over the flag | Photo by Sandy Driscoll

Flag Day service at WWI Memorial in Elysian Park

Santa Monica Oceanaires | Photo by Sandy Driscoll

Flag Day service at WWI Memorial in Elysian Park

WWI uniform | Photo by Sandy Driscoll

Flag Day service at WWI Memorial in Elysian Park

Peace signs hang from one man’s bracelets | Photo by Sandy Driscoll

Screenshot 2015-12-10 at 3.10.51 PM

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5 comments

  1. What a wonderful article. It is great to remember our World War one Heroes and the ones that paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms. The reconditioning of the area was a real Act of love and I’m sure it took a lot of time and effort. The pictures included by Sandy Driscoll were spectacular. The Human Side was so touching. Thank you for sharing.

  2. The writer should make it clear that this memorial was built by the members of the Daughters of the American Revolution and those 21 names are people who fought in WWI and are related to those who served in the American Revolution! This is no way a complete list of LA residents who served and made the ultimate sacrifice in WWI!

  3. Courtland Jindra

    I also have to disagree with the estimated turnout. There were at least 75 people there. We know because of the number of programs that were taken!

  4. Great article. Thank you.

  5. Sandy Driscoll, whom you mention in this article, posted this on her Face Book page. And, as a friend, and she keeps me, former and long-time Angeleno, updated on events. I particularly appreciated seeing this. Flag Day, 1956, I joined the Army. (I had been a Marine earlier but my reserve status didn’t count according to the local draft board.) The recruiter who swore us in that day said, “You do realize you’ve enlisted on Flag Day, don’t you?” Most of us didn’t! But ever since “Flag Day” has had a special meaning for me.

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