[KHTS] – A Santa Clarita resident proposed the concept of a war memorial at the Veterans Historical Plaza in Newhall to the Santa Clarita City Council Tuesday evening.
The concept was proposed by Bill Reynolds, a Vietnam veteran, and would list all of the Santa Clarita Valley’s fallen soldiers on one memorial.
“We have various memorials around town in various places and I think we need one impressive war memorial,” said Reynolds. “I think, since there’s cities all over America that have impressive war memorials, it would be a fantastic addition to our Veterans Historical Plaza.”
The Veterans Historical Plaza contains hundreds of engraved bricks honoring individuals who served in the military.
Vietnam veteran Bill Reynolds (left) with fellow Charlie Company veteran Jack Benedick at Veterans Historical Plaza in Newhall. Photo: Lou Reda Productions.
“I believe Santa Clarita needs this (memorial), I think we are late in the game to having this,” said Stephen Daniels, a Valencia resident. “There’s countless towns in cities across the United States that tributes to their fallen locals. We need to do the same.”
The memorial would be in the shape of a “V” in granite; the “V” standing for valor.
Each of the Santa Clarita’s fallen would have their names engraved on the memorial, with their ages and the date of their death, according to Reynolds.
“Santa Clarita has paid a heavy price for freedom,” said Reynolds. “We’ve lost approximately 50 soldiers, and I use that generically, and all of them are from the Santa Clarita Valley. The valley is a vast area and we’ve had a lot of people serve in the military here.”
To date, 20 Santa Clarita residents lost their lives in World War II, five in the Korean War, 14 in the Vietnam War and 12 in the War on Terror in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the virtual war memorial, SantaClaritaWarMemorial.com.
The Santa Clarita City Council spoke in favor of future discussion on the concept.
“(The memorial) is self-serving for my family, but we’d certainly love to honor all of our veterans any way we can,” said Councilman Dante Acosta. “We really don’t have one place specifically for those from Santa Clarita. We have something up at Eternal Valley, which is wonderful, but there’s a lot of people that, frankly, haven’t lived in this community that are on that. Maybe we move in that direction, but that’s something we can talk about.”
Acosta’s oldest son, Army Spec. Rudy Acosta, was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2011.
Mayor Pro Tem Bob Kellar “absolutely” supported the concept and doesn’t anticipate there will be a lot of push-back.
“I think it is something we can move forward with,” said Kellar. “Costs are always a concern no matter what the issue, this is one where I am satisfied. I don’t think the city should put in one nickel into the cost of (the memorial). I know, as a business owner, I could not be more anxious to putting a few dollars towards this. I dare say, there will be no issue having to do with getting the finances necessary for this memorial.”
The rough estimate for the cost for the project is in the thousands of dollars, according to Reynolds.
“The last thing we should be worried about is cost, when these fallen heroes have already paid the ultimate price,” said Daniels. “Is it really possible to give too much honor to any of our veterans, especially to those who have lost their lives.”
Kellar also thought that the parks commission and the arts commission should have input, “I know this community is going to come up with a great memorial.”
Councilman TimBen Boydston thought the memorial “is a good idea.”
“I think there needs to be a big process involving everyone, so at the end, everyone says ‘that’s all ours,’” said Boydston.
Councilwoman Laurene Weste was “fine with having a discussion about veterans and how we can do more for them.”
The SCV Veterans Memorial Committee, which organizes the annual Memorial Day Ceremony at Eternal Valley Memorial Park, formally endorsed Reynolds’ war memorial concept when it met Wednesday evening, Reynolds said.