La Mesa VFW bench dedication & Plaque Removal and Plaque Build Up: San Diego Sweet and Sour
A day in the life in this blog post is both San Diego sweet and sour. The "sweet" part the title refers to is a bench dedication ceremony at the La Mesa VFW/American Legion post on March 7, 2015. The "sour" part about plaque removal and build up has nothing to do with dental hygiene but is about plaques on the Vietnam Memorial Monument at the same location.
March 7 the sun shone brightly on the crowd at the Vietnam War
Memorial at the American Legion Hall in La Mesa. The Monahan and
Ellis families, related through marriage, were among the viewers awaiting the unveiling of the bench honoring their respective
fathers. Veterans of the second World War, the late William P.
Monahan, Sr. and Ellis Evers were decade long residents of La Mesa. Dinah and Mike worried about what their fathers might have in common to talk about when the families got together. Usually men of few words, Bill and Ellis sat in a corner and talked for hours about their experiences in WWII. This bench is dedicated to their memories.
Monahan and Evers families at the bench dedication.
Upon arrival, we walked around the Vietnam Memorial that was built in
1970. Reading the plaques, I was amazed that they were still there
knowing many plaques were stolen and sold for scrap. Heck, the wiring
in the street lights on our block was recently cut and stripped of
its metal. I was already worrying about the fate of the bench, hoping
it wasn't made of desirable metal. My fears about the bench were
unfounded, it is made of ceramic mosaics spelling out the words
"Freedom is not Free".
Plaque dedicated to the Heartland Youth who fought in the Vietnam War
The Vietnam Memorial at the American Legion/VFW post in La Mesa
A cross with a helmet and two flags top the memorial
the speeches and unveiling of the bench, TV news outlets interviewed
the families and VFW volunteers. I later saw their reports were about
attempts to steal the plaques I was wondering about that day. It turns out that same morning, VFW volunteers noticed the plaques were loosened and took
them down for fear of being stolen. They will be reinforced and
better security measures put into place when they are re-installed.
One news report stated how the monument is right across the street
from the La Mesa police department. Attention thieves: the plaques
are made of bi-metal and are not valuable scrap. Remember what the
bench says: Freedom is not free. Neither are the plaques.
Bill Monahan, Jr. & the author behind the bench
The Monahan siblings with their father's bench
Side view of the bench
Feeling nostalgic, after the ceremony, the Monahan clan decided to have lunch in downtown La Mesa. The Ellis family stayed at the VFW which serves burgers and hot dogs. We were going to walk, but the traffic was fast and scary. There were no crosswalks and we would have to taken our lives in our hands or had to walk out of our way to go around Spring Street. So we drove three blocks to Tiramisu for some great Italian food. It was heartwarming to hear the siblings reminisce about walking to the former bank building and pointing out where they bought back to school clothes. May their parents be smiling down upon them proudly.