“Our veterans…must not be forgotten. Their service, their sacrifice, their courage must be etched in America’s memory…and remembered…as the price they paid to pass on to us…the legacy of freedom and glory that is America.”

— Governor Pete Wilson, 1998


These words from Governor Pete Wilson’s address at the dedication of the California Veterans Memorial in December 1998 express the intent of the monument. It is a moving remembrance of the more than five million Californians who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces since statehood in 1850.

The memorial is surrounded by a grove of mature trees. An arc of flags represents the various branches of the U.S. military and borders a 30-foot black granite obelisk.

The California Veterans Memorial artfully combines the ancient obelisk design with modern craftsmanship. The granite surface is etched with images of warfare, derived from photographs, capturing moments from the battlefield injuries to the warm homecomings of soldiers with their families. Each of the obelisk’s four panels is intersected by narrow gaps, signifying the destructive impact of war.

This memorial evokes a profound sense of respect and nationalistic contemplation. It stands as a testament to the trials faced by California’s veterans and the ongoing sacrifices they make. The monument’s creation and the act of visiting it are expressions of Californians’ deep gratitude for their veterans’ service.

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