Pasadena’s Fallen Soldiers Memorialized with Bronze Monument Unveiled, Dedicated on Monday

Congressman Adam Schiff, left, Ed Blecksmith Gold Star Father, and Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek, bow their head for the opening prayer during the Dedication unveiling of the Enduring Heros Monument Memorial Day Event at Defenders Parkway in Pasadena, CA., Monday, May 29, 2017. (Photo by James Carbone)The Dedication unveiling of the Enduring Heros Monument Memorial Day Event at Defenders Parkway in Pasadena, CA., Monday, May 29, 2017. (Photo by James Carbone)The local soldiers who\'s names are inscribed on the Enduring Heros Memorial are recognized during the Dedication unveiling of the Enduring Heros Monument Memorial Day Event at Defenders Parkway in Pasadena, CA., Monday, May 29, 2017. (Photo by James Carbone)Gold Star mothers are escorted into the Dedication unveiling of the Enduring Heros Monument Memorial Day Event at Defenders Parkway in Pasadena, CA., Monday, May 29, 2017. (Photo by James Carbone)Congressman Adam Schiff reads the names of the local soldiers who\'s names are inscribed on the Enduring Heros Memorial are recognized during the Dedication unveiling of the Enduring Heros Monument Memorial Day Event at Defenders Parkway in Pasadena, CA., Monday, May 29, 2017. (Photo by James Carbone)Congressman Adam Schiff during the Dedication unveiling of the Enduring Heros Monument Memorial Day Event at Defenders Parkway in Pasadena, CA., Monday, May 29, 2017. (Photo by James Carbone)Guests place their hands over their heart for the Pledge of Allegiance, during the Dedication unveiling of the Enduring Heros Monument Memorial Day Event at Defenders Parkway in Pasadena, CA., Monday, May 29, 2017. (Photo by James Carbone)

Photography by JAMES CARBONE

6:50 pm | May 29, 2017


An emotional day of tribute unfolded Monday at Defenders Park, a grassy section of a small public green near the bustling intersection of Orange Grove and Colorado Boulevards.

Families of Pasadena-area servicemembers who made the ultimate sacrifice overseas in wars waged across Iraq and Afghanistan dedicated an eight-foot tall bronze memorial which honors their warriors in a community that they once called home.

The Memorial Day events there began at noon with an intimate group of the Gold Star families. Working together, the gathered families all uncovered the monument in a moment of solidarity. It was revealed and they all joined in prayer.

Chris Slatoff, artist of the Enduring Heroes Memorial, presented each Gold Star family with a golden star that was cutout from the memorial (the flag on the memorial statue has cut out stars to let the rain weep through).

At the public ceremony at 3 p.m., miltary officers accompanied the Gold Star families to their seats. Condor planes flew over the memorial to honor the sacrifice of the 11 local warriors.

The ceremony began with Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Bargar speaking to the sacrifice of the soldiers. Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek followed, commenting on the historical significance of the memorial.

Although the event was an unveiling and a public beginning for the memorial, it was also the ending of a long journey that brought the project to fruition.

Enduring Heroes supporter Shelly Lowe spoke to the efforts of the Enduring Heroes Committee — about Jaynie Stundenmund, Chris Slatoff and his artistic vision, and working with the Gold Star families.

Lowe said that now the Enduring Heroes memorial is in its final resting place — across Pasadena’s World War I memorial.

Gold star father Ed Blecksmith also spoke, saying that the gathering was there to dedicate a beautiful and lasting tribute to those who gave their lives in service to their country.

“Gold Star Families think about our children every day for the rest of our lives. We are presented with a challenge —  do we stop living or honor their memory?” he said.

The values of the Gold Star families match those of their sons and daughters who decided to go into battle and that’s why we hold events on Memorial Day, he said — not to glorify war but to honor and respect our men and women.

Congressman Adam Schiff read the names of the fallen. Schiff asked veterans in the crowd from different wars to stand, and among them an aging veteran of World War II stood. Observers said it was a “beautiful moment that connected” veterans.

The ceremony ended with remarks by U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel David P. Diamond, who was awarded the Silver Star for providing aid to victims and assistance to Boston police in the immediate aftermath of the April 15, 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

The armed services work to free the oppressed and to protect the beleaguered, Diamond said. Enduring heroes is the perfect title for the monument.

Attendees left by placing American flags next to the memorial.