Update: Thank you, Jennifer Schooley, for sharing your photographs from the dedication ceremony.
A ceremony Saturday at 11 a.m. will formally dedicate a new memorial to six fallen service members from Napa County, according to a City of Napa announcement:
A memorial to the six Napa County men and women who lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan will be dedicated on Saturday, September 29 at 11:00 am at Veterans Memorial Park in downtown Napa.
The fallen veterans to be honored include: Dwight J. Morgan, Phillip G. West, Jennifer L. Cole, Chase B. Stanley, Darrik C. Benson and Garrett A. Fant.
Speaking at the event will be Alyssa DeBenedetti, who took this project on as her Napa High school senior project beginning last year, Congressman Mike Thompson, and Napa Mayor Jill Techel.
The invocation will be read by Chaplain, Katrine Reed. Music will be played by the Golden West Brass Quintet. The colors will be posted by the California Army National Guard.
“It is important to me to acknowledge the loss of these local heroes and recognize the sacrifice they have made. I hope the community will come out and help honor these men and women on Saturday morning,” said Alyssa DeBenedetti.
The memorial sculpture of a "battle cross" — an M16 rifle, combat boots and helmet — replaces the popular "Fish On" sculpture at the prominent downtown intersection of Main and Third streets on the southeastern corner of the park.
The memorial's placement became controversial earlier this year after a majority of council members told DeBenedetti that she and local veterans could pick the location for the battle cross to be installed this year.
They chose the corner location of "Fish On," which the city had agreed by contract with its sculptor, Terrence Martin to display until 2013.
When the conflict between the city contract and the council's promise became public, some veterans assailed the arts community for supporting Martin's right to have his contract honored.
In April, after more than three hours of public testimony at a city council hearing on the sculpture controversy, a majority of council members voted to replace Martin's sculpture with the battle cross.
Council members Juliana Inman and Peter Mott voted in the minority, saying they would prefer the monument be located further inside the park.
While many people who spoke at the April council meeting said the busy intersection of Main and Third was a good place for the war memorial, others objected, saying the war dead deserved a more peaceful place to be remembered.
"I wish we could have done better," said veteran David Ybarra.