The memorial will feature seven monoliths and seven flag poles, each representing an arm of the military branches, including the Merchant Marines, and taller poles for the American and POW/MIA flags. A large granite platform, a bronze sculpture of a kneeling soldier, sitting benches and a granite star will be installed at the base of the flag poles.
As members of the City Council and a chamber filled with saluting veterans and families spoke in favor of the memorial, it was clear that Pleasanton is a patriotic community. We don't have to drive more than a block into the downtown district to see light poles adorned with American flags and yellow streamers, each with the name of a Pleasanton soldier now serving in harm's way in Afghanistan and the Middle East.
Recently, the Veterans Memorial Building, built in 1933, was renovated to bring the building back to its original glory while preserving its historical and architectural integrity. The project upgraded the building to ADA standards by adding wheelchair ramps to all the entrances and installing a lift for the main hall stage. New electrical, plumbing, kitchen and restroom upgrades also were added, and the building was seismically strengthened and equipped with a new fire protection and security system.
Now the council has turned its commitment to its cemetery, thanks to a large group in the community that routinely volunteer to spruce up the old burial grounds and also gather at "Welcome Home" celebrations and community gatherings for returning veterans, which our Mayor Jerry Thorne always attends. The authorization to proceed with the Veterans Memorial is a continuation of the council's commitment to our veterans and shows the city's strong collaboration with its veterans' organizations.
Special thanks for their ongoing work also go to Steve Kirkpatrick, project manager and Pleasanton's director of engineering, on the city side and Doug Miller, former post commander of the VFW, on the veterans' side. Their work over the last several years to design and win approval of the project will be honored on Nov. 12 when the new memorial is dedicated.
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