LOS GATOS, Calif.—Freedom doesn’t come free. Oftentimes, sacrifices are made to protect what the country is built upon. Following Memorial Day and D-Day, the city of Los Gatos revealed on June 15 a new memorial to commemorate the fallen who have served the country.
A flame, bell, and plaques were dedicated to first responders, service members, veterans, and nine-eleven heroes. On Saturday, locals gathered to honor their history.
“This is a recognition of generations that have secured our freedoms and our liberty as citizens of the United States. So many gave their very lives, so many of them were so young,” said Anna Eshoo, a congresswoman for California’s 18th congressional district.
Frank Morris, Flame of Liberty’s designer, said the community did not want to install anything too militaristic, so he worked with the idea of a flame, inspired by the torch from the Statue of Liberty.
“It represents honor, and remembrance. And it’s an elegant form. Having created the flame, then I put the soldier’s cross inside like a fabergé egg,” said Morris.
“Then they realize that the soldier’s cross is inside, and kind of protected. And that the veil looking through the colored glass is a little like a veil between the surface and those who’ve past, and the living, so it just worked out,” he said.
Fallen soldiers had their caskets wrapped in the American flag.
“The American flag is a symbol of our great nation and the Constitution that guarantees all these rights that they fought for. It’s the soul of our nation. This is sacred ground now, that we are standing on,” said Eshoo.
Two Los Gatos high school graduates, Mark Bingham and Todd Beamer, are September 11 heroes who are remembered for attempting to regain control of United Flight 93 after the terrorists took over. Their parents were present to share a few words.
“Nine-Eleven is going to be with me all of my life. And the death of my son, I’ll never really get over, but the important thing is that we take from the lessons of 9/11, something to go forward with,” said Alice Hoagland, Mark Bingham’s mother. “We must honor our Constitution, and the principles we live by and we must cherish the United States of America. And I’m doing that today with my Los Gatos friends. Fills me with pride.”
“They had a chance to fight, and they did so. And many people were saved on the ground because of that,” said David Beamer, Todd Beamer’s father. “The enemy’s goal was our capital, and as much collateral damage as they could inflict, and that part of their mission failed.”
The city’s mayor said he had been looking forward to this event for many years, and felt relieved that there’s a place in the community to honor veterans.
“We have a lot of history that can be shared with the public, and put forth to future generations, so kids growing up today understand the importance of what it takes to preserve our freedom,” said Steve Leonardis, Los Gatos Mayor.
When asked why they chose June 15th for the reveal, Leonardis said it is its own special day.
By placing the memorial here, the city has created a chance for people to spend some time dedicated to remembering those who spent their lives, for freedom.