Renewed pledge to honor veterans sacrifice
Published: Monday, February 4, 2013 at 3:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, February 1, 2013 at 3:53 p.m.
Veterans of any era have not been forgotten by Petalumans. The war in Vietnam may not have been one of the most popular in U.S. history, but the community honors the sacrifices of those who served.
The recent theft of a bronze plaque in Walnut Park commemorating 15 local soldiers who died in Vietnam, presumably stolen for the value of its metal, has struck a chord with patriotic Petalumans who are rallying to make sure the fallen soldiers are not forgotten.
In a happy irony, the theft of the plaque, while appalling, may prove to have benefits that will draw even more attention to the veterans’ sacrifice, while significantly improving the park where the plaque once stood.
Upon learning of the theft, many local veterans were justifiably outraged, as were many others in a community where military service is widely valued and honored. Once the news got out, Petalumans began to take action. Joe Noriel, president of the Petaluma History Museum which hosted an exhibit in 2010 about the Vietnam War, quickly began working with local veterans’ groups to replace the memorial.
Their efforts have resulted in a large outpouring of public support, with financial contributions coming in to help replace the plaque. To date, more than $10,000 has been donated by Petaluma firefighters, veterans groups, local businesses and individuals. Among those working on the project are four members of the group that erected the original plaque in the mid-1970s.
Plans are still being formulated, but it is certain that the new memorial will be more elaborate than the original and will probably be secured with a piece of granite. It may also be accompanied by an illuminated flag pole and other features. In fact, the effort to restore the memorial is leading to a restoration of much of Walnut Park.
The Rotary Club of Petaluma Valley has plans to rehabilitate the area of the park surrounding the memorial with a bench to honor former club member Ron Flagg, a highly decorated veteran who died last year. New landscaping is planned around the gazebo with plants that will flower in red, white and blue.
Another group, a coalition of seven service groups called the Petaluma Service Alliance, plans to refurbish and perhaps pave the pathways in the park to make it more accessible to persons in wheelchairs, using walkers or pushing strollers, and improvement plans keep expanding. Additional monuments, commemorating Petaluma soldiers who died in other wars, are also being discussed.
The person or persons who stole the plaque may have been heartless, but not the Petaluma community. Once again, Petalumans have shown they care about their own and have not forgotten the men who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their nation.
All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.
You'll find a number of new technology features available from this site. With personalized news sent straight to your mobile device.
post your stuff
Petaluma360.com is here for you to post your comments, photos, news and events with the community. Post it now!
Have something to say? Join the conversation!
Upload your photos of community events, holidays, pets, cute kids, breaking news and more, and vote for your favorites!
Submit your area events to encourage others in your community to attend.