National City War Memorial Rededicated After Plaques Stolen - NBC 7 San Diego

National City War Memorial Rededicated After Plaques Stolen

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    They rang a bell for each person who had died in the service of their country. They prayed and recognized those at the ceremony who had served in any of the wars the U.S. has fought. They sang and spoke of community and patriotism.The ceremony wasn't about anger but rather appreciation to all those who serve.

    Nearly two years after three plaques were stolen from National City’s war memorial, vandalized and dumped in a parking lot in San Ysidro, the memorial was rededicated Monday.

    City officials chose Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day to rededicate the plaques and the new Memorial Bowl and Intersection. The plaque represents veterans who gave their lives in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. For the rededication the existing tall wall was also clad in black granite and repainted, new concrete seat walls and new flagpoles were put in and the area was recently landscaped.

    “We did not want to put them up until we could put them up in a proper way,” National City mayor Ron Morrison told NBC7. “So it’s taken this long. They’ve been restored and in storage for some time until we could have this all ready.”

    After the criminals left the plaques in San Ysidro a good Samaritan found them, researched where they might have come from and eventually they were returned to National City. “They got too hot for them to handle and that’s the reason they ditched them,” the mayor said of the manhunt for the thieves.

    He said the thieves probably figured nobody would care that the plaques were missing “they found out real quick people noticed the difference.”

    The mayor said they were even working Sunday night to place plaques representing each branch of the military at the intersection.

    “We have really stepped it up,” the mayor said. “It was looking pretty bad…We wanted to make sure our military both today and in the future…know everything they have done is appreciated and is not going to be forgotten.”

    New surveillance cameras and better lighting surrounding the memorial have been added this year as well as reinforced bolts that go all the way through the structure to deter criminal activity in the future.

    “They very much underestimated the patriotism and the remembrance of our military here in our city and they got a surprise that came to them,” the mayor said.