Arlington West, the weekly war memorial installation on the beach just north of the Santa Monica Pier, marked its 11th anniversary on Feb. 15, with a commendation from the City of Santa Monica presented by Mayor Kevin McKeown. Every Sunday at dawn, volunteers install rows of hand-fashioned wooden crosses, stars of David, and crescents in the sand in a configuration resembling the Arlington National Cemetery, the nation’s burial place of honor for war heroes.
As the number of casualties of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have grown over the years, so too has the number of markers. Red markers, each of which represents ten fallen soldiers, have been used in place of some of the individual white markers due to space constraints.
Presenting the commendation at the memorial on Sunday to Michael Lindley, Ed Ellis, and Kathleen Hernandez, who have been with Arlington West from the start, Mayor McKeown told the dozen Veterans for Peace members and volunteer supporters that “your volunteer commitment over eleven years has done Santa Monica a great service, providing an inspiring place for visitors from all over the world to remember, to grieve, to comfort each other, and to learn.”
Every Sunday, volunteers begin setting up the installation at dawn, tend it throughout the day and take it down at dusk, a massive job done every week, rain or shine. Those interested in helping can contact Ed Ellis at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (323) 934-3451.
For more information about Arlington West Santa Monica, Veterans for Peace, visit www.arlingtonwestsantamonica.org.