Curt Seeden: Fountain Valley’s Veterans Park finally gets an official name — Veterans Park
In 2004, then-mayor of Fountain Valley Guy Carrozzo dedicated his second term to the country’s veterans. He made the same commitment during his first term as mayor in 2000.
Carrozzo’s vision of honoring veterans was fulfilled on Nov. 11, 2004 – Veterans Day – when a newly constructed Veterans Memorial was unveiled on what was then known as the “east lawn of the Fountain Valley Library.”
Well, the “park with no name” is no longer nameless.
On April 30, the City Council voted unanimously to officially name the grassy area east of the park “Veterans Park.”
For years, the park has been the venue for the city’s Veterans Day and Memorial Day ceremonies, regularly attracting 400 to 500 people to pay their respects to U.S. veterans.
Most residents already refer to the park as Veterans Park, but it never had been formalized. Mayor Steve Nagel prompted the official naming, asking at the April 16 City Council meeting that the matter be put on the agenda for the following council meeting.
Back on Nov. 11, 2004, the Veterans Memorial was unveiled as a tribute to those who served in World Wars I and II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War and the liberation of Iraq, as well as all past American wars.
Carrozzo, an Air Force senior airman, Korean War veteran and member of VFW Post 9557 who passed away in 2015, designed the memorial, which features an eagle atop a curved cement edifice and seven bronze plaques.
Architect Jim Favaro and contractor Bob Hoxsie donated their services for the project, and then-City Manager Ray Kromer headed up fundraising efforts.
Additionally, Hyundai Motor America donated $35,000 for the memorial’s construction, and the Manufactured Educational Trust contributed $1,000.
Veterans Park is also home to a 9-11 memorial created by then 17-year-old Boy Scout Ben Narodick. For his Eagle project, in 2002, Narodick managed to secure a large piece of New York’s World Trade Center and had it shipped to Fountain Valley.
The 350-pound piece of steel girder from the Twin Towers at that time was the largest piece of wreckage permanently displayed on the western side of the U.S., according to an article in the Fountain Valley View on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2002.
An official ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony for Veterans Park is being planned.
The annual Memorial Day ceremony, coming up May 27, will be held at Veterans Park as usual. The ceremony will feature a keynote address by Army Maj. James A. Lockhart, retired. He is the author of the book “The Luckiest Guy in Vietnam.”
And one last remember: The ceremony will be held at “Veterans Park.”