On this Memorial Day, the words “May they never be left behind nor forgotten” are sentiments that Chuck Ward and members of the Vandenberg Chapter of the Military Order of the World Wars are taking to heart.
They’re raising money to build “Your American Heritage Monument’’ in Atascadero. And after lengthy talks, they’ve found a home for it as well — in the Galaxy Theatres’ entrance plaza.
The estimated $60,000 monument will be a 6-foot tapered concrete base holding a 40-foot flagpole illuminated from dusk to dawn. The base will display a bronze plaque on each of the four sides.
True to the “American Heritage” theme, one plaque will feature the full Preamble to the Declaration of Independence.
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Another will contain the full text of the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution, which will include select Articles from the document.
A third will be a dedication plaque that will include selected writings from the Founding Fathers, Ward said.
And a fourth will display a bas-relief sculpture of a soldier carrying a wounded comrade from a World War II battlefield. Created by artist Mark Greenaway, who sculpted the images for Atascadero’s Faces of Freedom Veterans Memorial, the image will contain the prayer, “May they never be left behind nor forgotten.”
Ward and others who have been the driving force behind the monument say that the idea is “to foster awareness and appreciation of our Founding Fathers and their efforts to create the two most important documents that laid the foundation for our country.”
The monument is also intended to honor “our nation’s veterans from the time of George Washington, who have forged the fiber that has been woven into the fabric of our country,” Ward said.
The monument is expected to be unveiled next year, he said.
The $60,000 cost will cover all of the foundry work. Much of the labor and materials for creating the monument — much like the Faces of Freedom memorial — will be donated.
Type engraved on the Declaration plaque will be about a half-inch, making it easier to read. The Constitution’s Preamble will be in an even larger stylized swash format.
That’s another goal of this project: Making sure that those who are in the movie theater plaza can easily read some of the documents in which our Founding Fathers staked their principles and very lives.
Introductory excerptTrue to its “American Heritage” theme, a lead-in to the plaque that contains the Declaration of Independence will read:
“Nations come into being in many ways. Military rebellion, civil strife, acts of heroism, acts of treachery, a thousand greater and lesser clashes between defenders of the old order and supporters of the new — all these occurrences and more have marked the emergences of new nations, large and small. The birth of our own nation included them all. That birth was unique, not only in the immensity of its later impact on the course of world history and the growth of democracy, but also because so many of the threads in our national history run back through time to come together in one place, in one time, and in one document: the Declaration of Independence.”