Veterans honored with memorial

Kelsey Avers

To honor the local community, Saddleback faculty, staff and students, the Veterans Memorial Committee has outlined additional plans for the memorial dedicated to local veterans and those affiliated with Saddleback College.

College president Richard McCullough came up with the idea for the memorial. Ideas for construction began on Veterans Day 2004.

“We wanted to acknowledge the service of uniformed individuals in both peace and war,” McCullough said. “[The memorial] will be honoring [all] veterans”.

The first stage of the construction, a centerpiece of a life-size silhouette of a member of the armed services, has already been placed in a central location near the SSC quad. Future construction plans are for the silhouette to be surrounded by walls with cascading water, and lights to illuminate the sculpture. Continuation of construction is expected to begin this month.

The concept of the memorial is to pay homage to the men and women who have served their country and helped preserve freedom. The silhouette does not represent a man or a woman, but instead a figure indicating all fallen service men and women.

“I think it’s a great thing to do”, said Bill Rineberg, 19, communications. “All military personnel deserve credit no matter what or where.”

McCullough has strong opinions on how the memorial should be taken through the eyes of others and which individuals are being honored through the community college system.

“When people look at the memorial, I hope they will stop and reflect on those heroic moments,” said McCullough. “All wars will be represented through this memorial, there is no time limit. It is not for any particular event, it is a memorial to people.”

Student involvement is also vital to this project. Saddleback College Art students will also be participating in the construction of the memorial to make the project more personal and hands-on.

“We hope that professors will take some of their classes there to just look and reflect,” said Michelle Anstadt, Director of Foundation.

The College Foundation is working to raise awareness through fundraising and donations for the memorial. Their goal is to make $200,000, and they have reached almost 25 percent of their goal.

Upon completion, naming opportunities will be available to the community, students and staff through the college foundation. To have a name inscribed in the ground of the memorial will cost $100, an individual printed tile will cost $1,000, and a dedication on a bench will cost $5,000. Contributions can also be made through the Foundation Office.

When finished, the Saddleback College Veterans Memorial will display the first American flag flown over the United States Embassy in Vietnam. The flag is a gift from Chapter 785 of the Vietnam Veterans of America, which obtained the flag from Pete Peterson, the first U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam.

“When people go into the service, they are putting their own lives aside for a period of time,” McCullough said. “That’s honorable.”

The dedication for the completed memorial is scheduled for Memorial Day 2008.

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