Left Coast Mayor Calls for Removal of Armed Soldier Silhouettes at Veterans Memorial – Port Angeles, WA

Port Angeles Mayor Sissi Bruch is calling for the removal of silhouette armed soldiers affixed to a fence built to guard a Liberty Bell replica at the Washington state city’s Veterans Memorial Park. The $15,000 fence was approved earlier this year by the city government and built with private donations.

Excerpt from the Peninsula Daily News report from Sunday on Bruch’s proposal to remove the armed soldier silhouettes:

Mayor Sissi Bruch wants to remove the representations of guns from the new fence at Veterans Memorial Park.

She has been asked to pull her request from the Port Angeles City Council’s Wednesday agenda.

Bruch says in a memo in the agenda packet for the council’s meeting that the “two decorative outlines of soldiers with guns” have drawn objections.

“I’ve had comments from people saying do we have to do guys with guns when guns are killing our children in schools?” Bruch said Saturday, adding that she did not know how many complaints she had received.

“We can use other symbols,” she said.

The symbols should be of the democracy that veterans defend rather than the “tools of violence” they use to do so, according to Bruch.

The Daily News reports Bruch’s proposal is getting lots of pushback from residents including co-sculptor Bob Stokes:

Stokes, moved to tears, said Saturday: “My nephew Capt. Joseph Schultz gave his life in Afghanistan for his country. All my relatives are veterans and this is a war memorial and we have to respect it for what it is.

“I’m not taking the soldiers off or the guns.”

Background report on fundraising for the fence by MyClallamCounty.com at this link.

Video report by KING 5 on the conditions at the park that prompted the fence to be built.

In 1917 the City of Port Angeles acquired this site and several
years later dedicated it as Central Park. The park became a
central location to display important community awards and
memorials. Placement of the Liberty Bell replica was a
community bicentennial project completed in 1976. The park
was renamed Veterans Park in 1986 in honor of those who
served in all branches of the armed forces and in all conflicts
since the Civil War.

The park renovation was completed in 1997, funded by the
generous bequest of Marguerite Miller Hartness (May 7, 1921 –
May 5, 1995). Marguerite Vane began her career with the
U.S. Civilian Conservation Corp at this location. From 1942
until her retirement in 1982, she was an employee of the Port
Angeles Police Department. Marguerite is remembered for her
dedication to the community, her strong work ethic, and her
love of beautiful gardens.

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