While military veterans watched appreciatively, a student at Granada Hills Charter High School unveiled a newly updated campus memorial Friday to alumni who fought and died in the Vietnam War.
“I want them to be remembered,” said senior Douglas Smith, 17, who noticed the original memorial was missing the names of some soldiers and decided, as part of his Eagle Scout service project, to correct that mistake.
“I feel like I can relate to them,” he added. “A lot of the students who went off to Vietnam weren’t much older than I am, and most of them didn’t come back.”
With a grant from the Granada Hills South Neighborhood Council, and help from volunteers, Smith was able to secure a new plaque listing the names that had been omitted from the original memorial, which was dedicated in the 1970s.
He also led the effort to refurbish the existing plaques and add a large flag made of tile to the wall.
It earned a nod from Vietnam War veteran Ron Dorn, who attended the ceremony on Friday wearing Army fatigues. “It’s a real honor,” Dorn said. “For this young man to go through all the troubles and all the problems he had to go through to get this done, that makes him, in my eyes, a pretty good patriot.”
Rep. Howard Berman, D-Van Nuys, called the memorial a “very special” tribute to “a group of people who gave their lives for their country.”