BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — There are at least 55 World War II Memorials in the United States, and after years in the works, the Kern County World War II Memorial is now the newest addition to the list.
The memorial will be unveiled to the public Saturday, but those involved with the memorial added finishing touches Monday ahead of the big reveal.
Those final touches included placing a statue surrounded by memorial walls with names of Kern County veterans who returned and those who did not.
World War II veteran Walter Grainger came to see his name and four other members of his family who served on the memorial walls. Grainger shares that you cannot help but be filled with emotion by seeing the memorial.
“You talk about heart palpitations. It’s just fantastic … It captivates every emotion you can possibly have,” Grainger said.
The sculpture, designed by Bakersfield native Benjamin Victor, depicts a woman holding a child in one arm and a telegram in the other. Symbolic of what many American families received between the years of 1941 and 1945 of the news that their loved one would not return.
“It’s really a moving memorial, and it’s really a memorial that remembers all of the fallen and the sacrifices they made but also the sacrifices their loved ones made while they were overseas,” Victor said.
The memorial walls surrounding the sculpture, engraved by David Williams, only reinforce the surreal moment for each of the hands involved.
“I could not be more proud to put the names of these veterans on this wall, not only those who served and came home but mostly those who lost their lives in combat for our country. Every name I read through time and time again and spoke their names because of what they gave for our country,” said Williams.
The unveiling of the memorial to the public is Saturday at 10 a.m. for a Dedication Day.