WOODLAWN CEMETERY — Seven pillars, one for each major U.S. conflict since World War I, engraved with the names of Santa Monicans who died in service are proposed to be placed outside the mausoleum at Woodlawn Cemetery.
City Council unanimously approved the designs for the memorial put forward by city officials last week.
“The design is very simple, very thoughtful,” said Cultural Affairs Manager Jessica Cusick. “In some ways it echoes the memorial we have in Palisades Park. It is, we think, very restrained and appropriate.”
The idea for the memorial was born last February.
The estimated cost of construction is around $16,000, which proponents are hoping to raise privately. Once the memorial is built, maintenance and staffing costs would fall on City Hall.
About $3,500 has already been received from anonymous donors. Last week, another anonymous donor offered to pay $6,000, Councilmember Bob Holbrook said.
“If there is a shortfall it will be a very small one,” said Holbrook, who’s led the charge in getting the memorial built. “We thought it might be something that the people of Santa Monica might want to do, as opposed to (City Hall) doing it. We thought citizens might want to personally fund it in memory of the families and friends.”
The memorial would be made of poured concrete and allow space for additional names to be added to each pillar in case a service member was accidentally left off. Space would also be allotted for more pillars in the event that another war is declared. Family and friends would be able make rubbings of their lost loved one’s names.
Council directed organizers to be liberal when deciding who makes the lists.
Anyone who was born, buried, or who called Santa Monica home would be eligible, as would members of City Hall, as long as they died while in service, in combat or otherwise.
City officials have been working to compile a list of all Santa Monicans who’ve died in previous wars.
“I have family there, buried in the veterans section, so I took a walk around and realized there were headstones that were obviously World War II victims .… and I realized there must be a lot more men and women who were from Santa Monica who perished and aren’t buried at Woodlawn Cemetery because there was maybe 10 or 15 of them there,” Holbrook said.
Many government military records were lost in a fire, Holbrook said. City officials researched Santa Monica service members and came up with 97 names. They plan to publicly release the names, before the memorial is built, to assure that they aren’t missing anyone.
If all funding is secured by February, Cusick said, the memorial will open on Memorial Day of next year.