Calif. Memorial Recognizes U.S. Mariners

February 2010

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A new veterans’ memorial in Calistoga, Calif., pays tribute to the U.S. Merchant Marine along with members of the armed services.

Located in Calistoga’s Logvy Park, the memorial was dedicated on Veterans’ Day 2009, with SIU officials, members and retirees among the hundreds in attendance. SIU Assistant Vice President Government Services Chet Wheeler formally represented the union; he took part in the official ceremony.

The project itself was 10 years in the making, according those familiar with it. The memorial, a 2,500-square-foot plaza, was built on contributed land and through a public fund-raiser. Marble spires rise from the memorial park’s center; they feature the names of local veterans. One of the spires is dedicated to merchant mariners.

“It’s a fitting tribute to all merchant mariners who have bravely sailed in harm’s way when our nation has needed them,” said Wheeler.

Retired Seafarer Robert “Rocky” Schindler, 75, was part of the SIU contingent at the dedication. “I couldn’t have been more proud as a mariner to see so many people from our community come out to show their respect to those who have served our nation,” said the former AB, who sailed during the Vietnam War. “We found that a lot of folks here don’t know about the sacrifices that mariners have made for our nation, so we think the memorial will go a long way in teaching the community, especially the kids.”

According to Schindler, local citizens, businesses and an American Legion post came out in droves to participate in the memorial’s primary fundraiser on Independence Day 2009. That effort included raising money to help ensure upkeep for the memorial.

Published reports indicate that approximately $250,000 was raised, not counting additional donated services and labor.

On Veterans’ Day, under sparkling blue skies, the community unfurled the American, military branch and the U.S. Merchant Marine flags over the marble monuments to patriotic tunes and a salute from a color guard from nearby Travis Air Force Base.

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