July 3, 2017 - Re-dedication of World War One Memorial Plaque at Santa Monica High School
Memorial Greek Amphitheater, 601 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, California
by Jim Yocum
Squadron 283 of the Sons of the American Legion of Pacific Palisades has refurbished and re-installed the Memorial plaques that grace the stage front of the Santa Monica High School Memorial Open Air Theater (aka “Memorial Greek Theater”). The original plaque was installed on May 30th, 1921 at the original dedication of the theater. This Memorial Day dedication ceremony was presided over by the Commander of American Legion Post 123 in Santa Monica, Roland Speers, among other local dignitaries, so it is fitting that the Sons of the American Legion lead the re-dedication. Squadron 283 has taken on the project of restoring several WWI memorials in the Los Angeles area and this is the first one of those that has been completed. While the focus of the re-dedication will be on the World War One plaque and those named on it, the Squadron also refurbished the World War Two plaque as both are placed as a facing pair of memorials.
Those named on the plaque came from all walks of Santa Monica life and their biographies sound as if they could be serving today in the US Armed Forces:
• A film actor (with an IMDB profile) in the then-new motion picture industry.
• A young attorney whose family worked in real estate development
• A bus driver on the #2 line for the precursor to the Big Blue Bus.
Despite the span of a century, we have been able to locate several descendants of some of those named and invited them to attend the ceremony.
Restoration of the memorial has been done with the guidance of the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission. The Commission was established by Congress to honor and recognize the centennial of America's involvement with World War One. In addition, the refurbishment was accomplished through the assistance of American Legion Post 283 of Pacific Palisades and the technical expertise of Restoration ArTechs Inc.
About the Sons of the American Legion
The Sons of the American Legion was created in 1932 as an organization within The American Legion. The S.A.L. is made up of boys and men of all ages whose parents or grandparents served in the United States military and became eligible for membership in The American Legion. Together, members of The American Legion, The American Legion Auxiliary, and the Sons of the American Legion make up what is known as The Legion Family. All three organizations place high importance on preserving our American traditions and values, improving the quality of life for our nation's children, caring for veterans and their families, and perhaps most importantly, teaching the fundamentals of good citizenship.
Jim Yocum is Senior Vice President at Connecture, and Commander of Squadron 283 of the Sons of the American Legion of Pacific Palisades.