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Santa Monica Moves Forward Plans to Commemorate War Dead

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark

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Harding, Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

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By Jason Islas
Staff Writer

January 9, 2014 -- Santa Monica lost eight of its native sons in the war that engulfed Europe from 1914 to 1918.

Since the armistice that ended the “war to end all wars” went into effect on November 11, 1918, dozens more Santa Monicans have died in foreign conflicts.

And now, City Hall is calling for the public to give the names of their friends and family who died “while serving in a time of war” and other armed conflicts so that their names can be added to a commemorative wall at the City-owned Woodlawn Cemetery.

“It would be nice to commemorate these people so that when Memorial Day services are held, people can remember those who were lost, husbands, sons and daughters of Santa Monica,” said Councilmember Bob Holbrook.

Holbrook, who was a child when World War II ended, thought of the idea as he was wandering through the graves at Woodlawn Cemetery before the City’s 2012 Memorial Day commemoration.

That summer, a City Hall intern compiled a list of all the Santa Monicans who have died in foreign wars since the city was established in 1875.

Hostilities broke out between Spain and the U.S. in 1898, but as far as official records are concerned, no Santa Monicans died in the four-month-long war.

It wasn’t until World War I when the first Santa Monicans died fighting overseas. The City’s intern found eight names.

The intern found that World War II took the greatest toll on Santa Monica and more than 50 residents died during the conflict.

The intern counted another 13 names of residents who died in the Korean War and 23 who died in Vietnam.

One Santa Monican, George Nassif Malak, died in the first Gulf War and none have died in the decade U.S. troops have been in Iraq or Afghanistan.

But the initial list, officials say, may not be complete. That’s why they want residents to tell them if anybody is missing before construction on the project begins.

“The City would like the public’s help in reviewing the existing list for completeness,” staff said.

So far, the City has raised more than $12,000, approximately two-thirds of the project’s cost, according to officials.

To donate or to view a list of the current names, visit the cemetery’s website. The site also information about how to submit a name.

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