A week before our country celebrates its independence, patriotism took center stage on Saturday in downtown Selma.
Three monuments honoring Military personnel were unveiled at Veteran’s Plaza as a few hundred citizens watched in the June heat.
The monuments were created by Fresno-based sculpture artist Brandon Greer under contract from American Legion Post 12. They were created from recycled steel with a clear powder coat.
One statue depicts a sailor embracing a loved one. Another is of a female Air Force member holding the hand of a child. The largest statue, in the center of the plaza, is of a soldier in full gear holding an American flag.
Eliseo Zuniga, Commander of American Legion Post 12, said the sculptures represent appreciation of men and women in the military for their “pride and duty to the country.”
The Legion post paid for the sculptures and donated them to the City of Selma, which has pledged to maintain the monuments and the Veteran’s Plaza.
Assemblyman Dr. Joaquin Arambula, who spent 10 years as a physician in Selma, predicted the monuments “will stand the test of time.”
Saturday’s crowd was filled with former military personnel and their families, as noted by guest speaker Lorenzo Rios. The retired Lt. Colonel and former West Point professor said the hoped festivities would be a call to action for all residents of Selma to better their families and their neighborhoods. He said unity is not something to talk about but something to act on.
“Making America great starts with making Selma great,” he said to the Assembled multitude.
Rios, CEO of the Clovis Memorial District, said the placement of the monuments is “an expression of community values” in honoring the legacy of local servicemen and women.
Selma Mayor Scott Robertson said Saturday’s festivities marked “30 years in the making of Lincoln Park’s purpose of a Veteran’s Memorial.”
He described the monuments as “three statues standing guard over our sacred space and our memory of the brave veterans who have kept us free and those who gave their lives so that we can be free.”
Robertson said he believes the Veteran’s Memorial can help attract visitors to Selma while providing veterans and their families with a source of pride to reflect on the lives and sacrifices of military personnel.