Napa War Memorial Dedicated Saturday

A memorial to the six Napa County residents who died while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan was dedicated Saturday at Veterans Memorial Park in downtown Napa. A local teenager developed the memorial for her senior project.

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.

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Jeffrey Wright September 29, 2012 at 05:39 PM
I was out for a bike ride 6 am. Friday morning and just happened to pass by the park and noticed 2 Napa city workers scrubbing a section of the sidewalk in the park . With all the hoopla that been going on lately I was interested if someone had been chalking and stopped to find out what was up. They confirmed my suspicions and seemed just as disgusted as me that someone would deface an area dedicated to the men and women who have given so much to this country .. I just don't get some people !!!
vocal-de-local September 29, 2012 at 06:09 PM
I agree Jeffrey. There are more appropriate ways for people to express themselves. I don't think arrest is appropriate though.
Belle (Orchid Lady) September 29, 2012 at 08:45 PM
I want to say thank you to our Vets first and foremost! I also want to say that I think Ms. DeBenedetti is a remarkable young lady, and has pushed through the public flap, and stood by what she started, and believed in. I have a hunch, that through her long perseverance she has become a strong and formidable, determined advocate for Veterans, and will prosper in all she attempts. I think she has also done more for our Veterans than ALL of the nay-sayers, just by doing SOMETHING...even if it's not the 'something' others would have chose. She DID something good.
Jan B September 29, 2012 at 09:34 PM
I find this very touching having been a military brat, I just wish it was uncovered for the photo. I drove by today but with lights and foot traffic I couldn't really see it.
Unfiltered Steve Simoneau September 29, 2012 at 10:14 PM
You know, if Ms. DeBenedetti and the veterans had chosen a location currently taken by a Gordon Huether huetherism the cty council would have told them to pick another location.
Carolyn Ingraham Petersen September 29, 2012 at 11:38 PM
We need to honor our Vets in every way we can. Also they need our help with getting on their feet with a benefit to get them back on track to a good life here in the USA.
Jennifer Schooley September 30, 2012 at 12:24 AM
Jan, I just posted some pictures of the Memorial as well as close-ups of each of the plaques and a few of the program itself.
Jeffrey Wright September 30, 2012 at 12:34 AM
So you would be implying what ?
Louisa Hufstader (Editor) September 30, 2012 at 12:53 AM
I know, Jan, I was frustrated that this was all I could get yesterday but I wanted to put something up on Napa Valley Patch in advance of today's ceremony and the covering was very securely taped down, so no peeking was allowed. Thank you so much, Jennifer Schooley, for sharing your photographs from today. Nobody should miss them! Patch editors try to be everywhere, but this weekend I had a rare chance to see both of my sisters in San Francisco. I'm really glad and grateful to be able to feature reader photos. Please keep them coming.
MICHAEL WILSON "Republican Kid" September 30, 2012 at 12:58 AM
(The memorial's placement became controversial earlier this year) Only with the Hate America first crowd
Leo Olyn September 30, 2012 at 01:34 AM
May each and every one of these individuals be honored for the service to their/our country. Eternal gratitude and a sincere thank you for your sacrifice and call to duty when needed.
Unfiltered Steve Simoneau September 30, 2012 at 05:44 PM
Not implying at all. If Gordon Huether was the artist behind "Fish On" and had a contract with the City until 2013 then "Fish On" would still be displayed at the corner of Third and Main until the contract expired. Mr. Huether is no dummy, and he knows that his long-time Napa ties and involvement in local politics assures his artwork prominent locations for display. That's just how it works around here; handshakes and back-scratching. And sometimes, handshakes and back-stabbing.
Ash Leigh October 04, 2012 at 11:21 PM
Well said.
Mark Mathews November 11, 2012 at 08:03 PM
That is a correct statement.


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