SAN FRANCISCO - After 82 years of waiting, the San Francisco Veterans Memorial Dedication Ceremony was held during Fleet Week at the Memorial Court in San Francisco on October 10, 2014.
With the Blue Angles flying overhead and a crowd of families, friends, active duty and retired military, one veteran said it was worth the wait.
U.S. Service members, veterans and locals attend the San Francisco Veterans Memorial Dedication Ceremony during San Francisco Fleet Week 2014 on Oct. 10, 2014. San Francisco has hosted fleet week for more than 30 years, and has invited Marines and Sailors to showcase a variety of capabilities in response to emerging disasters. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Leah Agler)
“We finally did it. We kept the promise by dedicating the Veterans Memorial today,” said retired Maj. Gen. J. Michael Myatt, president of the Marines Memorial Association. “Almost five years of effort, but we feel good about it.”
Myatt also said that having the ceremony during fleet week was no accident. Several active duty servicemembers stood in formation throughout the ceremony to show their respect.
“We wanted to get it done during fleet week because we have all the military here, and it was really special,” said Myatt.
However, the memorial is not meant just to honor those who were promised the recognition over eight decades ago. The ceremony had several guest speakers, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein who asked people to keep in mind all of the Americans still serving.
“The message was not only remember the past, those that paid the ultimate sacrifice,” said Maj. Gen. Vincent A. Coglianese, the commanding general of 1st Marine Logistics Group. “But remember the present, those who have fought and who are wearing the uniform today.”
While few of the veterans who served when the initial promise of the memorial was made could attend the dedication, there was no shortage of family and fellow servicemembers to represent and remember them.
Two veterans and members of the American Legion placed a box containing soil from various conflicts into the San Francisco Veterans Memorial at its dedication ceremony in Memorial Court San Francisco on Oct. 10, 2014. Our Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen are motivated, dedicated professionals who joined the all-volunteer service from all corners of America, but share the common values of honor, courage, and commitment, and the common virtues of selfless service and devotion to duty. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Caitlin Bevel)
“I think the families of the veterans who have passed, the family members who were here today, you could see the pride in their eyes,” said Coglianese. “I think it's important, and I think we're doing a better job of remembering those vets.”
Coglianese emphasized that he hopes the memorial will help the people of San Francisco, and anyone who visits, feel more connected to the men and women serving to protect them.
“When I talk in public about the Marine Corps, it's not my Marine Corps it's their Marine Corps,” said Coglianese. “Hopefully when they come by here they'll remember that it's their Sailors, Marines, Coast Gu
By U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Caitlin Bevel
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