El Soldado is currently missing in action – though don’t worry, he’s just “at the spa,” as the California Department of Veterans Affairs put it.
The deteriorating statute, also known as the Mexican American Veterans Memorial, was removed from his perch at the corner of 10th Street and Capitol Mall on Sept. 1 to begin the first phase of a long-awaited rehabilitation project. He is now at Ruhkala Monument in Rocklin, where experts are fixing his broken rifle, cleaning off his mold and placing him on a red marble base engraved with the names of the Latino Medal of Honor recipients.
This week, weather permitting, the Department of General Services is also set to begin construction on an expansion of the memorial’s plaza, including pathways connecting it to the sidewalk. CalVet is hoping the projects will be done in time to rededicate El Soldado in early January.
Financed by Mexican-American wives and mothers in the Sacramento area who held raffles and sold homemade tamales to raise money, the statute was originally completed in 1951 to honor their husbands and sons who fought in World War II. Funding for the renovation has been slow to come by, and supporters are still well short of the more than $1 million they will ultimately need for a project that includes extensive landscaping and walls lining the pathways.
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WORTH REPEATING: “Hard to see how any good can come from that.” - John Podesta, responding to an email sent by Sacramento native Eleni Kounalakis, who had told the Clinton adviser about meeting with a Politico reporter
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