Pixel Tracker

Tuesday, November 20 , 2018, 4:27 am | Overcast 49º

 
 
 
 

Hundreds Gather for Dedication of Memorial for Lompoc Valley’s Fallen Warriors

Through grassroots effort, site now remembers soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines killed while serving in U.S. military

 

Following years of drawing plans, raising funds and overcoming hurdles, the Lompoc Valley Fallen Warriors Memorial now sits on a hill as a remembrance for the community’s military casualties, spanning from Matteo Adamoli during World War I to Landon Jones in the War on Terror.

More than 250 people gathered under a hot midday sun Saturday at Beattie Park for the dedication ceremony for the memorial planned and completed thanks to a grassroots effort to make it a reality.

Seven years ago, a flagpole and plaque installation led to the proposal to develop the Fallen Warriors Memorial to remember the Lompoc Valley’s soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines killed while serving in the military.

“Today, after seven long years and I’m sure more than a few tears, and a lot of hard work, we see these dreams do indeed come true,” Mayor Bob Lingl said.

“What a fantastic statement this memorial makes about the Lompoc Valley. We truly are a caring and patriotic community.”

The ceremony, with Orcutt resident Bob Hatch, a highly decorated Vietnam War veteran, as master of ceremonies, included songs by Kaitlyn Chui and a flyover courtesy of the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Chapter 275 from Lompoc.

Hatch also spoke about the American flag while the 30th Space Wing Honor Guard from Vandenberg Air Force Base conducted a flag folding and raising.

“The United States flag represents who we are,” he said. “It stands for the freedoms we all share, and the pride and patriotism we feel for our country.

“We cherish its legacy as a beacon of hope for one and all. Long may it wave.”

Two readings, a Civil War letter presented by the Lompoc Theatre Project’s Mark Herrier and a combat soldier’s prayer recited by Duane Purser, were accompanied by violinist Diane Siminski.

The Lompoc memorial includes 52 names, Col. Michael Hough, commander of the 30th Space Wing, told the crowd in a speech that talked about some of fallen warriors, including Air Force Capt. Derek Argel, who died in a 2005 helicopter crash in Iraq.

Those listed on the memorial left their families and friends to serve in the military when the nation needed them, Hough added.

“Because of their supreme sacrifice we cannot allow their names to fade from our collective memory,” he said.

Through the years, the proposed memorial went through design revisions as financial and other realities hit the project, but the finished site meets the original purpose.

With a walkway and black sign leading to the heart of the monument, names of fallen soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines have been etched onto black granite atop four stone pedestals reflecting casualties during World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the global War on Terror. One list reflects six men killed during training and operations other than war.

Three benches located nearby will provide a place for visitos to reflect on those who didn’t come home. An adjacent wall contains tiles of past and present military members.

“This memorial honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice is a reminder to all of us that freedom is not free,” Lingl said. “These patriots, these warriors, are still giving to us today because I am sure this memorial will be one of the most visited sites in Lompoc.

“People will come, they will sit, they will visit, they will pray, reflecting on the price of freedom and remembering those who died so we can be free,” he added.

“Everything can be summed up in just two simple words: Thank you.”

Lingl offered thanks to numerous donors and volunteers who made the memorial a reality, as well as the service of many active-duty airmen and veterans in attendance.

“Thank you to the families of those we will forever memorialize here,” he said. “Your pain may never go away but neither will our gratitude. “And, of course, thank you to the men and women to whom this memorial is dedicated. Your sacrifice will never be forgotten.”

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.