San Diego, CA — The Mt. Soledad Veteran’s Memorial is now a permanent monument that pays homage to veterans who have honorably served our country. In addition, the Memorial will serve to educate the public on the contributions of military personnel throughout our nation’s history.
To commemorate this special landmark, former California Gov. Pete Wilson, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and a trustee of the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, announced a $500,000 pledge by San Diego developer Papa Doug Manchester. This formally kicks off the campaign to reimburse the $1.4 million to the Association that was used to purchase the half-acre site from the Federal Government.
This comes on the heels of the Sept. 8, 2016 ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that brought an end to the latest round of appeals, and dismissal of the case because the central issue — a religious symbol standing on government property — was moot. The property is now privately held. This concluded the more than 25 years of lawsuits, court rulings, aborted sales and property transfers over the Mt. Soledad Cross in La Jolla, one of the longest legal battles over religious symbols on public property in the country. Responsibility for this historic landmark officially transferred to the Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial.
“I’m deeply honored to step forward to help assure that the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial stands in perpetuity for all San Diegans,” said Manchester. “I have prayed for this for many years, and have a true sense of spiritual fulfillment by supporting a memorial that honors the sacrifice of our veterans, the best and brightest amongst us.”
In addition to Manchester’s donation, the Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial Association noted that its campaign to support the memorial has been joined by an impressive roster of well-known San Diego philanthropists and community leaders that have pledged gifts to replenish the funds.
Major donors who have stepped forward to raise more than one and a half million dollars include former San Diego City Manager Jack McGrory, Dick Woltman, Tom and Cookie Sudberry, Dr. Peter Farrell, Kim and Marilyn Fletcher, Steve and Stephanie Williams, Jenny Craig , and Mike McKinnon. Major support has also come from the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Indians.
“We are extremely pleased at the outpouring support from our community,” said Lou Scanlon, President of the Association. “The success of fund raising has exceeded our expectations; we are grateful and look forward to raising more.”
The fundraising effort, known as the, “Veterans Beacon of Freedom Campaign,” will be highlighted throughout the community on Veterans Day 2016. Those wishing to donate now, can do so by going to the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association website at www.soledadmemorial.com or calling 858-459-2314.