June 14, 2017 - Flag Day Event, Refurbished WW1 Memorial Unveiling
Elysian Park, Victory Grove, Los Angeles, CA
Cleaning and Planting at Victory Memorial Grove
On Flag Day, Wednesday, June 14, 2017, exactly ninety-six years to the day from the original setting of the WW1 Monument at Los Angeles Victory Memorial Grove by the Southern California Daughters of the American Revolution, a passionate re-dedication ceremony was presented by the Los Angeles Eschscholtzia Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
The Clean-up and Prep
The team of Lester Probst of the American Legion Hollywood Post 43, and Jan Gordon and Kimberly Ables Jindra of Los Angeles—Eschscholtzia Chapter of DAR (LAE-DAR), had met several times with the City of Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Department, in preparation for the restroration of the Elysian Park WW1 Monument.
Saturday, June 3, 2017, Disney Salute, a volunteer group of veterans of the Walt Disney Studios, and The Mission Continues, a veterans organization that empowers veterans facing the challenge of adjusting to life at home, provided donations of supplies, trash bags, topsoil, plants, and dedicated, hardworking military veteran volunteers and their families. For hours the volunteers cleared and cleaned the area. The two groups also supplied water and pizza. Additionally, three crew members came that Saturday from Rec and Parks, working right alongside everyone providing tools and trash disposal.
The volunteers picked up dozens of bags of unsightly trash and organic litter, and cleared paths of debris. Applying fresh soil and mulch as needed, they planted hundreds of native, drought-resistant flowering plants to beautify the appearance of this honored place.
The following week, professional conservationists from Rosa Lowinger & Associates completed the painstaking monument restoration plan. First, they removed over forty layers of paint and graffiti from the monument, then treated the bronze plaque, and successfully restored it to its original, beautiful appearance.
On Flag Day, Wednesday, June 14, 2017, exactly ninety-six years to the day from the original setting of the monument by the Southern California Daughters of the American Revolution, a passionate re-dedication ceremony was presented by the Los Angeles Eschscholtzia Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
With the stone monument concealed under a handmade replica of the same service flag that cloaked it nearly one hundred years before, The Los Angeles Police Department Honor Guard presented the colors, and songs were sung by The Santa Monica Oceanaires, a local A Cappella barbershop choral society. Poetry of the period was read, and a Doughboy re-enactor from the Great War Historical Society highlighted the ceremony with a wreath laying accompanied by a bugler.
The sizable crowd included neighborhood folks, community groups, and City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks employees. Along with Co-Director Courtland Jindra, the California WW1 Centennial Task Force was also represented by Co-Director Bill Betten. Additiional dignitaries included local Legionnaires and American Legion officers, Sons of the American Legion, Daughters of the American Revolution members, including California State DAR Regent Beverly Moncrieff. The event’s special guest was the Consul General of Belgium, the Honorable Henri Vantieghem.
Segments were read from the original 1921 dedication ceremony. Then, as a “roll call” of historical biographies of each of the individuals commemorated on the plaque was proclaimed, DAR members placed a carnation atop the monument for each name.
Event organizer and restoration manager, Courtland Jindra, stated that, “In a way, this has just started. The monument may be restored, but the project will continue with more plantings and care taking. The conservation of the monument and beautification of the immediate area has already inspired the neighbors in the vicinity to commit themselves and their children to taking better care of this space.”
The restoration of the monument’s historic flag pole is his next goal and he says the Daughters of the American Revolution and the American Legion are already planning the work with him on this.
With anticipation, Jindra added, “We also hope to try and replant some trees to replace those that have died through the years. This park will hopefully continue to be a site of reverence and remembrance as well as leisure for years to come.”