The Miramar National Cemetery Support Foundation has filed a request with the VA’s National Cemetery Administration (NCA) to construct a memorial to America’s veterans. The planned 30-foot tall Veterans Tribute Tower and Carillon will stand on a knoll on the north side of Miramar National Cemetery.
A prominent San Diego-area veteran has made a major contribution toward construction of the Veterans Tribute Tower, which will be unlike any other at a VA-operated cemetery. The Foundation is asking the public’s help to fund the Veterans Tribute Tower’s foundation and memorial plaza, and to finance the perpetual maintenance fund required by the VA. In total, the project is expected to cost about $400,000.
“The Miramar National Cemetery site plan includes a location for a carillon tower,” says Dennis A. Schoville, Foundation President and CEO. “We’re asking the NCA to approve the tower design. With the VA’s cooperation, we expect to dedicate the Veterans Tribute Tower and Carillon on Memorial Day 2016.”
The Veterans Tribute Tower and Carillon will be the single largest project the Support Foundation has undertaken on behalf of the cemetery. In January 2012, the Foundation dedicated the Avenue of Flags, a display of 50 American flags unique among national cemeteries.
That project was completed with contributions from the public, and with the donated use of equipment, and volunteers who gave personal time during construction. Contributions included $110,000 in financial aid from the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, with the support of Supervisor Bill Horn.
Custom-cast bronze bell
A 250-pound, 24-inch diameter, custom-cast bronze bell, that can be rung electronically, or struck using a bell rope, will hang from the center of the tower. It also will include a Sonata electronic chamber carillon that plays “Taps” and other selections appropriate for veterans’ cemeteries.
The Veterans Tribute Tower will stand on a landscaped plaza where visitors may gather to read the inscriptions on commemorative plaques mounted on memorial stones, or set into the base of the tower. Benches will be available to those who wish to spend a few moments in contemplation.
The Support Foundation has contracted with The Verdin Company of Cincinnati, Ohio, to construct the Veterans Tribute Tower. A family-owned, six-generation firm, Verdin has manufactured clocks, carillons, and bells since 1842 and now has more than 50,000 installations worldwide.
In addition to erecting the Veterans Tribute Tower, the company also will bring the world’s only traveling foundry to San Diego for an on-site casting of the bronze bell in the veterans section at Greenwood Memorial Park and Mortuary. The Verdin Company developed the event to encourage public participation in the creation of the commemorative bell.
‘A lasting tribute’
“The Verdin Company is honored to be chosen by the Miramar National Cemetery Support Foundation to create a lasting tribute at the cemetery to honor America’s veterans,” said Jim Verdin, President of The Verdin Company.
The Foundation has been working with Patrick W. Caughey, President of Wimmer Yamada and Caughey Landscape Architects of San Diego, to provide landscape planning and plaza design services. The firm’s many landscaping projects include the Unconditional Surrender Statue at Tuna Harbor Park, the Embarcadero Marine Park, Plaza La Jolla Village, and military projects at Camp Pendleton, Naval Station Pearl Harbor, and Travis Air Force Base.
Caughey’s landscape design for the Veterans Tribute Tower and Carillon will take advantage of the cemetery’s natural topography and plant life. The landscaped terrace below the Tower will include benches and be surrounded by coastal chaparral bushes.
“We see the Veterans Tribute Tower project as a great opportunity to support our veterans and their families, and to provide a meaningful place to honor their service to our country,” said Caughey.
When completed, the Veterans Tribute Tower and Carillon will be visible from almost every area of the cemetery, and also from nearby Nobel Drive and Miramar Road.
“The Veterans Tribute Tower and Carillon will stand as a tribute to honor America’s veterans of the past, as a well-earned recognition of our present veterans, and as a salute to the active duty and reserve personnel who are our future veterans,” said Schoville.
By Bill Heard, Public Information Officer
Miramar National Cemetery Support Foundation