Pictures and text by Michael Smiley
The pictures of the Veteran's Memorial were acquired on January 26, 2007. There were not too many people around and the weather was great. The pictures of the Public Safety Memorial were taken in May 2005 during at the annual memorial service. Due to the service, there were numerous people around, making overall pictures difficult to get.
|An overall view of the Veteran's Memorial taken from a distance. It depicts the simple yet effective presentation of the design.|
|A bronze plaque dedicated to the soldier's who sought and died in World War I. Depicts what appears to be a soldier from the Army. Also of interest is the bob-wire along the top and bottom, perhaps symbolizing the trench warfare soldiers endured in WW I.|
|A bronze plaque dedicated to the soldier's who sought and died in World War II. It depicts faces from the different branches of military service to honour those who served and died.|
Remembering Our Fallen Michael Smiley In California, I found two memorials that can illustrate the similarities between a memorial honoring our soldiers and our police officers. For a discussion and comparison, see the public safety memorial in Paso Robles.
This veterans' memorial here in Mission Viejo is a simple memorial created with stone and adorned with bronze plaques. Towering over them is of course, an American Flag. This is an important symbol at any United States memorial as it is the symbol of our freedom and ideals. I particularly enjoyed this memorial for it's diverse focus. This war memorial recalls and honors soldiers from their community who sacrificed their lives in many of the different conflicts our country has been involved in including World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Another thing I particularly enjoyed about this memorial is due to the diverse theme; it can continuously be expanded and updated to honor future soldiers who will give their lives in service to this country.
The memorial is located in front of a community/senior center. I found it odd that it was not located in front of a government building or veterans building. Perhaps a different location, more relevant to the military or government would be more fitting for a memorial. But this naturally begs the question, where is a good location to construct a memorial? Where would the public have the best access and gain the most meaning from it?
While this memorial does mention the men and women who have served our country, it is very general and narrow in focus. The memorial acknowledges the local men and women who served but leaves out many others who sacrificed their lives during the various wars. Like most memorials, it does not due justice to the true carnage and devastation wrought by war. This memorial definitely does not address any of the civilians who lost their lives. It does not mention those who were conscripted vs. those who volunteered and unwilling noncombatants who also lost their lives, including men, women and children. To its credit, the marker does mention the military women who served our country. Their essential contribution is often overlooked in memorials and the study of war.
Finally, there is no doubt that this memorial is designed for remembrance. The community of Mission Viejo constructed this memorial to remember the sacrifices made by members of their community. While it touches on their sacrifice it does not quite do justice to the catastrophic effects that war has on the many countries, communities and individuals involved in it.