[Part I of this article was presented on 1 June 2017 on Roads to the Great War. LINK]
|The Author with Friend Melissa Angert at the Re-dedication Ceremony|
So with my last post I left off right before the cleaning and planting day at Victory Memorial Grove. I'll backtrack just a bit first. Our main team of Lester Probst of the Hollywood Post 43 of the American Legion, and Jan Gordon and Kimberly Ables Jindra of Los Angeles—Eschscholtzia Chapter of DAR (LAE-DAR), had to meet several times with the City of Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Department to obtain the necessary rights of entry permits in order to do work in the park. However, once we bent their ear—the department was extraordinarily helpful!
|The Author, Kimberly Jindra (Author's Mom), and Lester Probst Brief the Volunteers|
Probst coordinated the participation of Disney Salute, the veterans group within Walt Disney Studios. They brought in The Mission Continues, a veterans organization that does community projects such as park cleanups. The city council district office also offered to pitch in, but by that time the most the most urgent need for the project was the availability of a port-a-potty on site for the cleanup day. The councilman's staff quickly obliged, free of charge.
|Volunteers Planting a Garden Around the Monument|
On Saturday 3 June 2017, the various obstacles were brushed aside as volunteers from the aforementioned organizations came together and spent several warm, sunny hours participating in a community-based clean-up day. The Mission Continues and Disney Salute provided donations of supplies, trash bags, topsoil, plants, dedicated, hardworking military veteran volunteers and their families, plus water and pizza to hydrate and feed everyone. Oh, let's not forget the Saturday assistance of Recs and Park. Three crew members worked right along with us, providing tools and trash disposal!
|Employees from Rosa Lowinger and Associates in the |
Midst of the Restoration
This did wonders for the park’s general state. Volunteers picked up dozens of bags of unsightly trash and organic litter. They swept walkways and pathways clear of debris, loose soil, and rocks. They fought soil erosion with plantings and rock stabilization. They applied fresh soil and mulch and planted hundreds of native and/or regionally compatible, drought-resistant flowering plants to attract butterflies and other pollinating insects to the grove and beautify the appearance of this honored place.
Then, from Tuesday 6 June 2017 through Friday 9 June 2017, professional conservationists from Rosa Lowinger & Associates completed the painstaking monument restoration plan. They removed over 40 layers of paint and graffiti from the monument, treated the bronze, and successfully restored it to its original, beautiful appearance.
|Los Angeles Police Department Honor Guard at the Start of the Ceremony|
On Flag Day, Wednesday 14 June 2017, exactly 96 years to the day from the original setting of the monument by the Southern California Daughters of the American Revolution and with the monument hidden under a handmade replica of the same service flag that concealed it before, we were FINALLY ready.
|Kimberly and Courtland Jindra Welcome the Crowd|
A heartfelt re-dedication ceremony was presented by the Los Angeles Eschscholtzia Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The event brought together the Los Angeles Police Department Honor Guard, music sung by the Santa Monica barbershop chorus group, The Oceanaires, period poetry, a Doughboy re-enactor from the Great War Historical Society, a bugler, and a wreath laying.
We had a nice crowd including neighborhood folks, community groups, Legionnaires, DAR, members including CA State Regent Beverly Moncrieff, R&P employees, and even the Honorable Henri Vantieghem, Consul General of Belgium. Segments from the original 1921 and dedication ceremony, as well as a “roll call” of historical biographies of each of the individuals commemorated on the plaque, were presented by various veterans group members and friends. DAR members laid carnations atop the monument at the reading of each biography.
|Philip Dye–Member of the Great War Historical Society|
|The Author and the Man Who Made the Restoration Happen|
[Congratulations, Courtland—Well Done]
It seems as if I have been working on this project forever, but I know by looking at other memorial projects around the country that this one actually moved fairly quickly. However, 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 historic flag pole is a goal that the Daughters of the American Revolution and the American Legion are willing to take on next. 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.