Memorial a triumph of SCV unity

Our View

We are pleased to pause as the summer of 2017 winds to a close to mark a community victory achieved through unity this week in the Santa Clarita Valley.

On Nov. 8, veterans, veterans’ families and community activists will join to dedicate Santa Clarita Valley’s Fallen Warriors Monument, a granite memorial to Santa Clarita Valley servicemen who have died in defense of this country.

The project has been two years in the making. But it began years before that with Vietnam War veteran Bill Reynolds requesting the city approve a modest memorial for the 14 SCV servicemen who died fighting in the Vietnam War. Specifically, he wanted the memorial to be placed – fittingly, it would seem – in Veterans Historical Plaza in Newhall.

The city didn’t agree.

Reynolds expanded his vision and turned to The Signal for help. Starting in 2015 he began poring over bound volumes in the newspaper’s morgue, determined to pull together a comprehensive list of SCV war dead for a valley-wide monument honoring this community’s servicemen lost in battle.

He encountered more resistance than that of crumbling old newspaper pages bound in dusty and yellowed volumes dating back to 1919. The Veterans Historical Plaza’s design was a point of sensitivity for many at City Hall.

For others, politics lurked in divisions between branches of the military.

The vision of a monument could have been sidelined during two years of planning, revision and negotiation required by the city to win approval. But once valley residents heard of Reynolds’ proposed Fallen Warriors Monument, they united behind the cause.

Public money started pouring in to help build it – along with offers of volunteer contractors’ time and building-material suppliers’ products. Home improvement stores and others also offered to help.

“It says a lot about our community – how patriotic we are,” Reynolds said this week following the Santa Clarita City Council’s unanimous final approval of the monument Tuesday night.

“It obviously means a lot to our veterans, particularly combat veterans who have lost friends in battle,” said Reynolds, who became director of veterans affairs for The Signal after launching his drive for the Fallen Warriors Monument.

And having a local monument engraved with their loved one’s name to visit will be particularly meaningful for Gold Star Families, he said – families who have lost a son, daughter, parent, or other family member to war.

The community’s support for the monument shows its sense of history and patriotism. We applaud all Santa Clarita Valley residents who contributed money or will contribute time or supplies to the building of the monument, as well as those who took time to speak in support of the monument during city public meetings or who wrote letters to the editor in support of it.

The Nov. 8 unveiling ceremony for the Fallen Warriors Monument is scheduled for 10 a.m. at Veterans Historical Plaza in Newhall. We urge all who can come to do so, honoring those from the Santa Clarita Valley who gave their all for their country.

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