“The eagle has landed,” Lompoc Museum board of trustees member Don Adams told a crowd in front of the newly resculptured World War I monument Saturday.
After nearly three years of raising money and implementing repairs, the city now has a reborn World War I monument that sits in front of the city’s museum on 200 South H St.
And now the monument has a new feature sitting atop of the revitalized structure: a bronze bald eagle.
“There was a missing piece, and that very important piece now sits at the top,” Adams said over a microphone, drawing applause from the nearly 100 attendees.
“This is a celebration today, but it also continues to be a remembrance and honor to remember those who fell in this war so long ago.”
Lisa Renken, Lompoc Museum director, said an interactive idea helped lead into the launch of re-creating the World War I memorial.
“We did a PowerPoint presentation for the Daughters of the American Revolution, the local chapter,” Renken said. “And that kind of started to get us to talk about working together. And it was coming up on the 100th anniversary of World War I, so we added the monument and did the repairs.”
Renken included that community donations helped lead to the rebuilt project.
The nearly three years of fundraising was spearheaded by officials at the Lompoc Museum and members of the Rancho Purisima Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
The two organizations evenly split the $51,000 cost of the project.
The original monument was located at the intersection of Ocean Avenue and H Street in Lompoc and was erected in 1924.
However, over time, the monument started to show signs of decay.
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“It moved here (on South H Street) in 1941,” Renken said. “It had a 75-foot flagpole on it when it was at the intersection and corrosion corroded the pole, which cracked the capstone.
“We started to raise money two years ago and do programs on the things [World War I] related,” she said. “We also did a bunch of research on the Lompoc soldiers who fought, so we have a special exhibit [at the museum] on that.”
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While the eagle was created from bronze, the bulk of the monument is made of granite, Renken added.
Another new feature to the monument shines in the middle facing the lawn and trees of the museum: a U.S. trench soldier with one foot on a ladder while a tank, airplane and machine gun nest are in the background.
That sculpture was put together by local artist Ed Brooks, who said he made the design from clay and then had it cast in wax.
Brooks said the soldier sculpture took nearly two years to complete.
Not only did the unveiling of the new-look monument draw hundreds of community residents — some clad in red, white and blue attire — on a mostly sunny day, but Lompoc Mayor Jenell Osborne also attended and shared a few words of gratitude.
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“Thank you to the Daughters and to the museum for identifying this project and putting all of your time and effort into working on it, and for making it a really memorable and amazing part of our community’s history,” Osborne said. “We will continue to support all the work you do in our community.”
James Carucci had the honor of removing the covering on top of the monument.
Carucci has worked as an archaeologist for about 40 years, served as a trustee and officer on the Lompoc Museum board for 20 years and written historical pieces for the Lompoc Record.
Once the Eagle was revealed underneath the sun, the entire crowd began to sing “God Bless America” before marveling at the newly christened monument.