Vets memorial decommissioned before relocation

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- A veterans war memorial was decommissioned in St. Augustine Monday before it is moved this week.

The monument was erected in the downtown plaza in 1946, but since then, electric boxes have been placed next to the monument, obstructing the view.

So the community rallied to give the memorial a better, more respectful home.

There are names of local men who died in war on the monument, and family members of those veterans attended Monday's ceremony.

Lesta Ann Sasser was there Monday. Her uncle, Philip Lester Brinson, is listed on one of the memorial's plaques. He was reported missing in action in World War II just days before she was born, so Lesta was named after her uncle Lester. He was only 26 and was engaged at the time.

Moving the monument to a more respectful place means a lot to her.

With tears in her eyes, she said, "These young men loved the country so much that they fought and served and without them we wouldn't be here today. I wish more people in this country loved this county like they did."

John Valdes is a contractor and is donating his services to help disassemble and then re-assemble the monument. He said if it were simply moved, it could harm the large, old oak tree next to the memorial.

Valdes said, "Our intent is by next Wednesday, this project will be complete … except for maybe some landscaping left to do."'

The memorial will be moved several feet away, but it will remain in the same downtown plaza.


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