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World War I Monument Plaza on grounds of Lompoc Museum

The World War I Monument Plaza is shown on the grounds of the Lompoc Museum. Four bronze plaques and a bas-relief bronze sculpture of a doughboy soldier created by local artist Ed Brooks are among the renovations that will be on display during a re-dedication ceremony for the monument that is scheduled for 11 a.m. Sunday, which is also Veterans Day.

Multiple ceremonies have been planned throughout the Lompoc Valley this weekend to recognize Veterans Day, including one that will mark the formal unveiling of the city's recently-remodeled 93-year-old World War I monument.

Three major public events have been scheduled to take place in Lompoc on Veterans Day, which will be Sunday, Nov. 11. Among them will be a morning gathering and program at the Veterans Memorial Building, a festive lunch at the Lompoc Elks Lodge, and a re-dedication ceremony at the Lompoc Museum that will cap a year’s worth of programs that were held to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, which concluded with an armistice on Nov. 11, 1918.

The program at the Lompoc Museum, located at 200 South H St., is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. It will include the re-dedication of the new-look World War I monument, which was first erected in Lompoc in 1925, as well as an open house at the museum and the opening of a new exhibit titled “Lompoc Goes to War.”

That ceremony will mark the finale of 12 monthly programs organized by the museum that focused on various aspects of what was known as the Great War and also served as fundraisers for the monument renovation.

In all, the museum and the Rancho Purisima Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution were able to raise about $30,000 toward their $45,000 goal for the project, which involved repairing and cleaning the monument and constructing a stamped concrete plaza around it. Other modifications included the installation of four commemorative bronze plaques; a bronze bas-relief sculpture of a doughboy soldier by local artist Ed Brooks; and the addition of two curved concrete benches and two planters containing red poppies, a symbol of World War I.

"We are very happy with the work that has been done so far and the elements of the plaza that will be installed this week or will be soon after," Museum Director Lisa Renken said Monday.

"The project has been a lot of work but has definitely been worth it," she added. "We will continue to fundraise until all of the elements are complete, which we think will be within the next couple months."

The re-dedication ceremony, according to museum officials, will closely follow the original dedication of the monument that took place Feb. 12, 1925, when the monument stood at the intersection of H Street and Ocean Avenue.

The ceremony is scheduled to include a Boy Scout color guard, the singing of patriotic songs by vocalist Sarah Raines and remarks by members of the World War I Monument Committee. It will conclude with the “presentation” of the enhanced monument site.

Veterans and Veterans Day will also be recognized at other sites in the Lompoc Valley.

Local Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1717 organized the program at the Veterans Memorial Building, 100 E. Locust Ave., which is also scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Sunday.

That event is set to honor all armed forces veterans, active duty, retirees, National Guard and reserve military service members.

“In the spirit of community, join us in saluting all the men and women who have served our country and the families who support them,” read a statement from Richard Drago, VFW Post 1717 commander.

Brig. General Matthew Wolfe Davidson, the vice commander of the 14th Air Force and Air Force Space Command at Vandenberg Air Force Base, is scheduled to be the guest speaker. Veterans who attend are encouraged to wear their military attire. Food and refreshments will be served afterward.

Also Sunday, the Lompoc Elks Lodge, 905 E. Ocean Ave., will host a Veterans Day lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Veterans will be allowed free entry, while all guests and other community members will be asked to pay $3. In addition to the meals, there will be military displays and memorabilia available to view, and the Rip Tide Big Band will provide live music from noon to 3 p.m.

Attendees are asked to enter the lodge through the catering entrance from the Walnut Avenue parking lot.

Renken, the director of the Lompoc Museum, said she was proud to be a part of the Lompoc Veterans Day observances and to help highlight some of Lompoc's history.

"So many people are surprised to learn there is a World War I monument in town even though they have walked past it numerous times," she said. "With the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, we felt strongly that a light had to be shone on this historic monument and the sacrifice it represented. And in the process, to learn something about the Lompoc of 100 years ago, as well."

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Willis Jacobson covers the city of Lompoc for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @WJacobsonLR.

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