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Veterans Memorial Fountain a Step Closer to Reality

March 31, 2000|MARISSA ESPINO | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Ask John Whiteriver why Orange should have a veterans memorial and he will talk about the thousands of men who died during World War II and the Korean War.

"All these men have nobody to talk for them," said the American Legion Post 132 member and chairman of the memorial project. "We are the spokesperson for them. I believe we should build something in their memory so we remember as time goes on."

The architectural rendering of the veterans memorial fountain was unveiled by Whiteriver and Mayor Joanne Coontz last weekend during an American Legion dinner benefit.

The American Legion, in collaboration with the city, plans to have the memorial completed in Santa Fe Depot Park and dedicated to all veterans of the past, present and future by Nov. 11.

Coontz said that placing the memorial fountain in Santa Fe Depot Park is significant because local women and men who served in World War I, World War II and the Korean War would leave from and come home to the railroad station that used to be inside the park.

"We thought it was a great place for it," said Coontz, who is the daughter of a Marine officer. "If you have been brought up in a military family, it is important to you to have a memorial."

The memorial will feature a free-standing fountain with an approximately 5-foot-tall wall behind it that will have medallions from each of the five services--Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, Navy and Army--embedded into it. The wall, with three tiers, will have water flowing over it from another fountain, symbolizing the eternal flow of life.

The words "Dedicated to Past, Present and Future Veterans" will be etched along the bottom of the wall, and benches will be nearby.

The cost of construction is estimated at $75,000, and the city will vote on donating money to the memorial in April.

Raymond Goss, American Legion Post 132 member and vice chairman and treasurer of the veterans memorial project, said that looking at the architectural drawing of the memorial was breathtaking.

"If you stood there and just looked at the picture, what came to mind was a peaceful feeling," he said. "It's been a long time coming to have something like this put up in Orange."

Marissa Espino can be reached at (714) 966-5879.

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