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Memorial looks to honor more WWII vets

The Kern County World War II Memorial Committee is giving the residents of Kern County another chance to honor World War II veterans on the memorial unveiled last year at Jastro Park in Bakersfield.

According to Shafter native Ed Gaede, one of the directors of the memorial, there are about 900 spots available to add names. "We are excited to offer this opportunity to our residents who wish to honor their loved ones or relatives on this special memorial."

In 1942, there was a front page list in The Shafter Press that named all of the Shafter residents who had entered the military to help with the war. There were almost 600 men and women listed. "According to the census at the time, this was almost 40% of the population that was here one day, and gone to war the next."

Gaede said that the residents of Shafter and Wasco have a lot of history in the war effort, and can take advantage of this opportunity to be recognized.

For $100, the veteran's name would be added to the memorial that displays that history.

For those interested, the veteran to be honored does not have to be a Kern County resident. "If a Shafter or Wasco resident has a relative from somewhere out of state, they can recognize that veteran on the wall. They don't have to be Kern County residents to be honored on the wall."

Anyone who wants to have someone honored can go to the website They can also call Gaede at 661-343-7658.

The memorial includes a bronze statue of a tearful military wife holding a small child. The art was created by 1997 Foothill High graduate Benjamin Victor. Currently, Victor is creating a statue of Merle Haggard that will be displayed at the Oklahoma Country Music Hall of Fame in Muskogee, Okla.

"He also has three other works of art in Washington, D.C," Gaede said.

The deadline for orders is June 6, D-Day's anniversary. The memorial with the additional names will be unveiled in Dec. 7, the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack


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