Forever Changed: Reflections on a War Memorial

A memorial within a memorial.

Healdsburg, California is built around a town square, a commons where people gather for everything from Santa’s winter visit to small summer concerts. In the center is a fountain where children play and make wishes with pennies.

Near the southeast corner of the park is a war memorial. It’s a child, about 9 years old, holding a folded American flag. As you gaze at the statue, you realize you’re really looking at a memorial within a memorial—a child at his own father’s military memorial.

The child stands on a stone pillar, and on each side of the pillar is a bronze plaque. On one of them it says:

Dedicated to those from Healdsburg who served their country in World War II, and to the memory of these who gave the last full measure of devotion.

Years later another plaque was added listing the names of men from Healdsburg who died in WWI, Korea, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf. It is now known as the multi-war memorial.

The park is often filled with children playing. The child in bronze is set apart from those children, forever changed by this loss.


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