Veterans

PETA Opposes SeaWorld Orca Habitat Expansion at Coastal Commission

July 24, 2015 by Source
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by James Sullivan/ Science Recorder / July 24, 2015

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has asked that the California Coastal Commission reject SeaWorld San Diego’s efforts to expand its killer whale tanks.

The project is estimated at $100 million, to be completed in 2018, but has yet to received endorsement from the Coastal Commission.

“This item has been postponed because of all the information submitted,” said commissioner Alex Llerandi.

“The coastal staff is taking the time to ensure all potential issues and viewpoints are considered in any final recommendations.”

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The OB CDC: Commemorative Bricks, Bike Stations and Veterans’ Plaza

May 18, 2015 by Source
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By Lois Lane

This is my report of the Ocean Beach Community Development Corp (OB CDC) meeting of May 13th, held in the Rec Center.

Commemorative Plaques at Entryway Plaza

The OB CDC regular meeting opened with a discussion on a request for commemorative plaques on the Entryway/Gateway project. There is still space available for 100 bricks. Small ones, 8” x 2”- are expected to cost $200, while the large ones, 12” x 12” – go for $1000.

No phone numbers or advertising are permitted, and the CDC appears to reserve the right to disapprove the engraved wording, just in case you are thinking of funding one that says “In memory of Anthony’s Pizza Parlor.”

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The American Sniper As Hero

January 26, 2015 by Source

American SniperBy FDRDemocrat/ Daily Kos

The controversy over the movie American Sniper has predictably reopened the divide among many Americans over the Iraq War. What is more interesting is how the choice made by director Clint Eastwood to choose a sniper as a heroic archetype unravels classic notions of what is considered heroism.

The concept of heroism has been with humanity since the beginning. At it’s heart it contains a common thread where the hero (or heroine) risks themselves for the sake of others.

How then to adapt the heroic archetype to the profession of sniper? This is no easy task.

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Expanding the Veteran Sleeping Bag Distribution Program in San Diego

January 8, 2015 by Source

By Stan Levin/ San Diego Veterans for Peace

Veteran helping homeless veteranThe San Diego Chapter Veterans for Peace (SDVFP) has for the past several years been actively engaged in our signature charity the “Compassion Campaign.”

Some members had gotten together in 2010, before I became a member, and discussed the problem of homelessness in San Diego and what we might be able to do to help veterans who because of a variety of circumstances find themselves living on the street.

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Women’s Perspectives and Changing Roles In the US and Iraq War

November 17, 2014 by Source

By Lori SaldañaLeigh_Ann_Hester_-_high_res women in the military

In March 2010, Katherine Bigelow made history at the Academy Awards, by winning in the Best Director category. This was the first time a woman had done so in the Academy’s history. She won for her film “Hurt Locker,” about men who disarm IED’s (improvised explosive devices) in Iraq.

“Hurt Locker” was also was named Picture of the Year, and won for Best Sound Editing- so congratulations for all that, too, Ms. Bigelow. Well done.

If you haven’t seen it, “Hurt Locker” is an amazing and suspenseful film — with hardly a woman character in it.

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Ocean Beach CDC Unveils 3D Models of New Veterans Plaza

November 12, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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At yesterday’s fundraising event for the new OB Veterans Plaza, the lead organization behind the project, the OB Community Development Corporation, rolled out its 3-dimension models of the planned memorial.

A hundred people – including many biker veterans- joined the CDC and a color guard from Point Loma High School at the unveiling of the Plaza and the kickoff for fundraising for it on Tuesday, November 11th – Veterans Day.

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Veterans Day 2014

November 11, 2014 by Source
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In observance of Veterans Day 2014, we turn to a series of posts that our online media partner, San Diego Free Press, has been running this week, “War and Peace Week”.

War and Peace Week at the San Diego Free Press by Anna Daniels

Drill Team (a paean, not to the war machine) by Jay Powell

…MORE INSIDE …

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Twelve Years Ago Today OB Held Its Largest Peace Rally This Century

October 27, 2014 by Marc Snelling
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By Marc Snelling

Last month Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama, who was elected to end two wars, addressed the nation to announce an open-ended bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria. As the Afghanistan War (now the longest in American history) and the conflict in Iraq continue it is clear Obama has failed to live up to his election promises.

Not only has his administration failed to live up to it’s word to end two wars and close Guantanamo prison, he has even changed his tune about the initial invasion. The US “sought to work within the international system” he said earlier in March of this year at a speech in Brussels. Obama further declared the the US had “left Iraq to it’s people in a fully sovereign Iraqi state that can make decisions about it’s own future.”

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Reshaping the Vietnam Narrative

June 18, 2014 by Source
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The Vietnam War was a turning point in U.S. history but not as many people may think. In defeat, the national security state changed the narrative into one that made American soldiers the victims and made anti-war activists into traitors who spat on returning soldiers, as Marjorie Cohn explains.

By Marjorie Cohn / Consortiumnews.com

We came dangerously close to nuclear war when the United States was fighting in Vietnam, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg told a reunion of the Stanford Anti-Vietnam War Movement in May 2014. He said that in 1965, the Joint Chiefs assured President Lyndon B. Johnson that the war could be won, but it would take at least 500,000 to one million troops.

The Joint Chiefs recommended hitting targets up to the Chinese border. Ellsberg suspects their real aim was to provoke China into responding. If the Chinese came in, the Joint Chiefs took for granted we would cross into China and use nuclear weapons to demolish the communists.

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Who’s Really the Traitor Here? Thoughts about Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl

June 10, 2014 by Ernie McCray

Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl

By Ernie McCray

My goodness, a man, Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, gets released from a 5 year imprisonment in Afghanistan, and there are those who want to condemn him, as a traitor, allegations that are no more than speculations based on shaky observations.

“He walked away from his duty! And people died looking for him!” people say as though in war it’s out of the ordinary for someone to freak out and want to flee and maybe say to his foe “I don’t want to shoot another one of y’all anymore! I can’t stand to see another child run in fear when I walk near them. I can no longer stand to see them shake in their pants, ever again” – aka “consorting” with the enemy. We’re human beings. We’re supposed to care. It’s in our nature somewhere.

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Memorial Day: Remembering 70 U.S. Wars, Big and Small

May 26, 2014 by Source

memorial day picBy Clancy Sigal / Alternet

Except for mourning family members and Boy Scouts loyally placing tiny flags on veterans’ gravestones, hardly anyone knows anything about Memorial Day except that it’s a day off. It’s the saddest of the military holidays, invented after the Civil War, supposed to help us honor, or at least pause to remember, all the American dead from all our wars. That’s a lot of men and some women to remember going back, well, how far?

Big and small, we’ve “done” about 70 wars starting with the mid-18th century so-called French and Indian wars where George Washington was bloodied and when we got our first taste of industrially massacring Native Americans, mainly Ojibwas and Algonquins who sided with the French against our British masters.

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Michael Charter – OB Advocate for the Homeless and Vets – Passed Away

February 7, 2014 by Staff
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Ocean Beach has lost another of its citizens who helped others over the years. Michael Charter passed away on January 23rd, he was 69. A longtime community volunteer for OB, who helped the homeless and veterans, died from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at Vibra Hospital of San Diego.

After serving in Vietnam for almost 2 years once he was drafted in 1967, and receiving a Purple Heart, he returned to civilian life and dealt with post-traumatic stress disorder and alcoholism. He was able to earn a bachelor’s degree in business management from Cal State Long Beach. He married twice and was divorced twice. In that time, his family had moved to Point Loma. Michael had two daughters and a son from the marriages. Charter became a contractor who helped remodel homes and restaurants.

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Challenge to San Diego: End Homelessness Among Veterans in 2014

January 6, 2014 by Source

Phoenix and Salt Lake City have ended chronic homelessness among veterans. Why can’t San Diego follow their example?

homeless8By John Lawrence / San Diego Free Press

Phoenix has become the first city to end homelessness among veterans. The Obama administration had set a goal of ending homelessness among veterans by 2015, but Phoenix reached that mark a year early. After housing the last 56 veterans a week before Christmas, Phoenix announced that it had eradicated chronic homelessness among veterans in that city.

Phoenix and Salt Lake City had been involved in a frierndly competition to see which city could end chronic homelessness among veterans first. Phoenix won, but Salt Lake was not far behind.

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As Temperatures Drop, Occupy Activists and Vets for Peace Reach Out to San Diego Homeless

December 9, 2013 by Doug Porter

Homeless and coldBy Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

It’s easy to make light of the colder weather Southern California has experienced over the past few days. People from the east county were joking on Twitter this morning about having to use spatulas to clear their windshields of frost. But for the thousands of San Diego’s who live on the streets, the chilly temperatures are pure torture.

While the weather conditions locally can’t compare with those in northern tier cities, it doesn’t take below freezing temperatures to induce hypothermia, a potentially fatal drop in body temperature, usually caused by prolonged exposure to cold temperatures. And San Diego simply lacks enough shelter space for its homeless population when the temperature drops. Four people have died from exposure in the Bay Area in the past weeks and well over 700 die annual from exposure to the elements.

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A Quick Update of Ft. Rosecrans Cemetery

November 27, 2013 by Judi Curry
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Yesterday afternoon I received a call from Doug Ledbetter, the Director at Ft. Rosecrans Cemetery asking me if I had been up to see the progress taking place at the cemetery in the past few days.

Last night, and again this morning, I received five calls from readers asking me the same question. This is a quick summary of what I found when I drove to the cemetery at 10:30am on Tuesday, November 26, 2013.

It is 95% better than what I saw the last time I visited my husband.

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Ocean Beach Planners Delay Decision on CVS Pharmacy Moving Into Former Apple Tree

November 7, 2013 by Source
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Board Requires Corporate Applicant to Return in 90 Days With Information on Planned Alcohol Sales to Neighborhood

By Stephanie Denton / Special to the OB Rag

The monthly OB Planning Board meeting – Wednesday, Nov. 6th – brought out dozens of locals and it was standing-room only in the meeting room of the OB Rec Center as the Board’s agenda included topics which have caused a stir.

CVS Pharmacy’s Alcohol Permit Application

The hottest topic of the evening was the alcohol permit application by CVS Pharmacy which plans to move into the former Apple Tree Market on 4949 Santa Monica Avenue. After a presentation by the CVS rep and after numerous speakers asked the Board to deny the application, the Board decided to delay their decision and give CVS 90 days in which to present more information regarding alcohol and the neighborhood.

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Update – Ft. Rosecrans Cemetery

October 24, 2013 by Judi Curry
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by Judi Curry / October 23, 2013

It appears that progress is being made at the cemetery. Slowly, in the areas I checked out, but some of the areas of the cemetery that were behind green fences are now sporting beautiful green grass. This is at the most northern part of the cemetery on the east side of the road and snaking down to the bay-side where there are benches to sit on while looking over the San Diego Bay and listening to the cry of the seals.

There was evidence of men working on cleaning the monuments; men were moving the flat markers from the “curb” to the headstones; grading was taking place close to the road on the inside of the eastern part of the cemetery and sod is due to be laid beginning next week.

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Final Design of OB Veterans’ Memorial Plaza Made Public

September 19, 2013 by Frank Gormlie
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It’s happened. The final design for the new Ocean Beach Veterans’ Memorial Plaza has been publicly unveiled.

Over the last week and a half, presentations of the new design have been made in front of both the Ocean Beach Mainstreet Association and the OB Community Development Corporation (OBCDC) – the project’s sponsoring organization. And both groups gave green lights to the project that will replace the current memorial, one that has been worn down literally by salt air, sand, ocean water, foot traffic – not to mention marshmallows – .

Yet it may be years before the new memorial project itself is completely constructed.

The OB Veterans’ Plaza has also been in the news for months (for instance San Diego Newsroom ) because of a connection with the developer Sunroad and accusations of ‘pay to play’ monies given to the City, that former Mayor Filner wanted to go to the memorial. (It was mentioned in last weeks San Diego Reader cover story entitled “Did Sunroad pay to play?” )

Once built, the new plaza will have a final design that resulted from a process that involved two community workshops earlier this year and the creative input of the design consultant, and will be located next to the current reserved parking lot south of the main lifeguard station, butting up to Abbott Street. It will have a mosaic walkway from Abbott Street to a gathering plaza next to the sand, and includes four granite walls with the names of the honored vets. A crosswalk at Newport Avenue and Abbott Street is also being considered as part of the design.

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The Widder Curry Interviews the New Director of Ft. Rosecrans Cemetery

August 30, 2013 by Judi Curry
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Finally – some answers about Ft. Rosecrans – Sorta – from Doug Ledbetter

By Judi Curry

It has been three weeks since the new Director of Ft. Rosecrans Cemetery – has moved into his “lodge”. (When I asked him where I should meet him he told me “at the lodge.” Took me a minute to realize he meant the “private quarters.”)

He is in a wonderful position, because he had the courage to not answer all of my questions with a “I don’t know because I wasn’t here” but said he’d find out. Here is my interview with him from Thursday, August 29th, 2013 at 9:00am.

Let me tell you something about Doug Ledbetter first. He enlisted in the Air Force upon high school graduation and hails from Dayton, Ohio. He never attended college and is where he is because of passion and hard work.

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Mid-August Update on Ft. Rosecrans Cemetery: “… Virtually no improvements …”

August 16, 2013 by Judi Curry
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Update on Point Loma national cemetery – Thursday, August 15th, 2013

It is five days short of one year since I wrote my first article about the deplorable conditions at the Ft. Rosecrans national cemetery.

Over the past year, I have made numerous trips to the cemetery – my husband is interred there – and have been depressed, angry, sickened, etc. by what I have seen. Today I decided to go back and look for the improvements everyone has been talking about.

I am sorry to say that there are virtually no improvements in the section that Bob is resting in. (In fact, knowing Bob, he is probably very angry at what he sees when he looks out his door.)

Rather than just tell you about it – as I have done in the past – I have taken some pictures that will give you an idea of how our servicemen and servicewomen are being treated.

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The Widder Curry: A Follow-up Visit to Ft. Rosecrans Cemetery

July 19, 2013 by Judi Curry
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Editor: Just recently, the VA announced that a new director will be taking over the Ft Rosecrans – and Miramar – cemeteries in mid-August. Douglas Ledbetter, an Air Force vet and former director of the national cemeteries in Illinois and Nebraska (more on Ledbetter at the end of this post). Apparently, the Ft Rosecrans cemetery has been a revolving door for short-time directors over the years. Peter Young – the former director – was on board less than a year. And the director before him served only one year.

We don’t know if this is due to the Widder Curry taking on this issue of the conditions at the Ft. Rosecrans Cemetery or not, but here is here latest report of her most visit.

After celebrating one of the widows of my support group birthday, we thought it would be nice to drive up to Ft. Rosecrans to visit our husbands and see what, if any progress, was being made at the cemetery.

Since August of 2012, I have been writing articles about the deplorable condition of the cemetery. Last month Turko (KUSI) did a report on the cemetery and, although it was pointing out how long it has taken for anything constructive to be accomplished, he felt that a “turn around” was taking place. Maybe. And maybe not.

Since I appeared briefly on the program – I thought that maybe getting Turko involved really would make a difference. The footage that was aired – Memorial Day, for example – was not the current conditions of the cemetery. Today was worse.

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The Widder Curry Makes It to “Turko Files” on Ft. Rosecrans Conditions

June 27, 2013 by Judi Curry
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By Judi Curry

I have written several articles about the deplorable conditions at Ft. Rosecrans. See here, here, and here.

Michael Turko of KUSI News did a story a week or so ago and I sent him the articles that I wrote. One of the real discrepancies in his report and mine was that he was told the problem began occurring in November of 2012. My first article was written in August, 2012 and it was already a problem.

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“Beating the Dead Grass . . . .” – Revisiting Ft Rosecrans Cemetery

June 10, 2013 by Judi Curry
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This article has several messages I would like to discuss. Last year I wrote about the deplorable condition of Ft. Rosecrans. Just a few weeks ago I was quoted by the “editordude” in an article regarding the condition of Ft. Rosecrans during the Memorial Day holiday.

To briefly recap that quote, several of the women from my widow support group went up to Ft. Rosecrans to visit our husbands. Even though we know they are not “there” – talking to them is no different than when they were with us – they don’t listen and they didn’t respond. However, whereas we used to be able to sit under a tree on the green grass and have a picnic, the green grass and the trees are gone.

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Military Sexual Assault – It’s the Culture

June 5, 2013 by Source
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By Kathleen Gilberd / On Watch

The military is once again in crisis over sexual assaults. In recent weeks, it has become more apparent than ever that the military’s sexual assault policy is a failure, and that sexual assault in the services has become epidemic.

In early May, the Department of Defense (DoD) released new figures showing a significant increase in reported and unreported assaults – DoD estimates that over 26,000 servicemembers were assaulted in 2012, with only 3,374 of these cases reported to the military.

Just as the figures were released, the Air Force was rocked by news that the head of its Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program had been arrested for sexual battery. More recently, the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator for Ft. Hood was charged with sexual assault and pandering.

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Politics Trumped History on Memorial Day in San Diego

June 3, 2013 by Source

Press covers ceremony honoring death of paid mercenaries, traditional military sacrifice honors ignored

By Fran Zimmerman

798px-MountSoledadSignNow that Memorial Day 2013 is over, let’s record how the red/blue politics of the day trumped history and tradition and every lemming newspaper in this Navy town went along.

Apparently the Los Angeles Times, U-T San Diego, San Diego Reader and La Jolla Light forgot that San Diego is home to Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, final resting place for more than 115,000 servicemembers and their families from all branches of the armed forces and site of the largest Memorial Day commemoration in the city.

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Ft Rosecrans Cemetery Still Having Irrigation Problems? Director Says It Won’t Be Up to Standards Till August

June 3, 2013 by Staff

Questions have arisen of late by Ft Rosecrans visitors about the conditions of the trees and the grass at the National Cemetery. Trees are gone and the grass is all brown. The recent Memorial Day threw the situation at the cemetery into high relief.

Our own Widder Curry recently commented:

The widows and I went up to Ft. Rosecrans today to visit our husbands.

We were shocked to see that all the trees near their burial wall were gone. Uprooted. Patches where they used to be. And the grass was brown. All brown. No shades of green.

The cemetery is depressing enough, but seeing it in this condition was heart rendering. What is going on?

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Discussion on PL Democrats Website: Is the ACLU “Subversive” Because They Oppose Cross at Mt Soledad?

May 17, 2013 by Judi Curry

The Widder Curry Weighs In

An interesting question appeared today on the Point Loma Democrats website in regards to an article announcing the 80 year celebration of the San Diego ACLU.

To say that I was nonplussed to read the question which can as a comment to the article, would be a minor revelation. At the risk of being censored – do you think that Democrats would do that to their own? – let me tell you something about it.

On June 7th, there will be a 80 year celebration of the San Diego ACLU. As the article read, this function is not a

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Sex in San Diego: Pentagon Study Finds 26,000 Military Sexual Assaults Last Year, Over 70 Sex Crimes Per Day

May 9, 2013 by Source
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Editor: The following is a transcript of Amy Goodman’s program on Democracy Now from yesterday, May 8, that aired highlights from Tuesday’s Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on military sexual assaults . We also include the video – see below. Democracy Now!

NERMEEN SHAIKH: A shocking new report by the Pentagon has found that 70 sexual assaults may be taking place within the U.S. military every day. The report estimated there were 26,000 sex crimes committed in 2012, a jump of 37 percent since 2010. Most of the incidents were never reported.

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The Last Letter – A Message to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney From a Dying Veteran

March 21, 2013 by Source

To: George W. Bush and Dick Cheney
From: Tomas Young

Originally posted at Truthdig.com

10th aniv iraqI write this letter on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War on behalf of my fellow Iraq War veterans. I write this letter on behalf of the 4,488 soldiers and Marines who died in Iraq. I write this letter on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of veterans who have been wounded and on behalf of those whose wounds, physical and psychological, have destroyed their lives. I am one of those gravely wounded. I was paralyzed in an insurgent ambush in 2004 in Sadr City. My life is coming to an end. I am living under hospice care.

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Saving Veterans’ Plaza in Ocean Beach

February 22, 2013 by Source

The tragedies of 9-11 were several years away when Obceans who knew that patriotism was consistent with the community’s laid-back, do-your-own-thing ethic decided it was high-time to do something big.

An idea to honor those who have served our country in the armed forces took hold and, with the help of the since-vacated Ocean Beach VFW, the Ocean Beach Mainstreet Association (OBMA) and others, the idea came to fruition.

In a nutshell, that’s how the Veterans’ Plaza at the corner of Abbott Street and Newport Avenue – with two its flagpoles, 6 ½-foot-high piece of granite rock and adorning plaque, and dozens of inscriptions engraved onto a brand-new, concrete sidewalk – came to be in the mid-1990s, organizers say. Ocean Beach was ahead of the curve.

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