Temecula’s Veterans Memorial at Duck Pond Park
was dedicated in 2004.
There is rarely a time when I drive past, or once in a while when I stop by, that I don’t see someone standing at the Veterans Memorial at Temecula’s Duck Pond Park.
Dedicated on Veterans Day in November 2004, the “Letter’s Home” monument includes the statue of a soldier, pausing from the battle with his rifle by his side, to write a letter to a family member, friend or loved one.
Surrounding the statue are depictions of actual letters written home by military men and women from the battlefields of many of America’s conflicts.
Visitors usually take the time to read those letters and also look at the pathways leading to the memorial, where 1,270 engraved pavers honor veterans who have served honorably from the American Revolution until the present day.
The Path of Honor was conceived by World War II U.S. Navy veteran David Micheal, who a decade ago worked tirelessly to collect the applications of the first 700 or so veterans to be honored even while he was battling cancer.
David Micheal died about six months after the monument was dedicated. His wife Barbie has carried on the work since her husband’s passing.
Each paver is engraved with the name, rank, and branch of service on the first two lines with the third line reserved for a word or two about that veteran’s service.
When the monument was dedicated in 2004, about 760 pavers were installed and filled the shorter of the two pathways. Subsequent installations have been smaller but usually over 100 at a time because it costs the city both time and money to do the engraving and the $75 fee does not cover the entire cost.
Now the second and longer of the two pathways is about 80 percent filled.
The longer of the two Paths of Honor is about 80 percent filled.
Paver applications, Barbie told me recently, have slowed in recent years and currently, she has only six requests for new pavers.
“The city requires me to have more, but the requests haven’t come in,” she said. “Those folks have been waiting for six months and they want to see their people honored.”
So now, with Veterans Day approaching and the longer path almost full, it would be a good time to finally honor the veterans in your family, even if that veteran has no connection to Temecula.
Applications are available at the city’s website — www.cityoftemecula.org — and more information can be obtained by calling Micheal at 951-304-3467.