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Veterans: A Plea for Keeping Memorial as Is

October 27, 1994

As the granddaughter of the oldest Gold Star mother in America until her death, the niece of an uncle who lies among the poppies of Flanders Field, the niece of an uncle who lost his life in the Boxer Rebellion, the daughter of a World War I veteran and wife of a past national commander of the American Legion, I must decry once more the incredible determination to change and destroy our Palos Verdes Estates Veterans Memorial Park.

In addition to Veterans Memorial Park, another sparsely landscaped memorial park already exists immediately adjacent to the City Hall. There is a landscaped buffer between the sidewalk in front of City Hall and the building itself. Either of these areas would be suitable for a dignified memorial for slain policemen Sgt. Vernon Thomas Vanderpool and Capt. Michael Tracy.

Once, while on a bicycle trip through Austria, lunchtime found a small group of us in a village without a restaurant. We shopped in the village market and then sat silently on the steps of a tall obelisk and read the names of village men who had died during World War I and II. Within moments a woman rushed out of the market and motioned vigorously that we should not be sitting and eating at the foot of the village memorial. She then sternly led us to her home, where she pointed out a picnic table in her back yard.

War memorials and cemeteries in Europe and throughout America are hallowed places where tradition and often literature still proclaim that "here one does not picnic or play."

Dear Edward Carson Beall, "roll up your plans!" And, dear members of the City Council and Memorial Committee, take a walk around our City Hall and the 400 empty city parkland acres, and think it out again.

JEANE BURKE

Palos Verdes Estates

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