UPLAND (CBSLA.com) — An Upland family is fighting to keep a tribute in place for a 19-year-old woman who died while serving in the Navy more than a year ago.
Airman Apprentice Cynthia Shupe died in March 2013.
“Her smile, her laughter, she just had a larger than life personality,” mother Grace Schmidt said. “She brought sunshine into a room and could bring out the best in people…just her goodness toward others.”
Shupe is recognized for her service on a banner along Campus Avenue near 17th Street.
The symbol brings comfort to Shupe’s mother and stepfather, who said they were originally told Shupe took her own life. Her case still remains open.
“Just flying her banner brings [the] family some kind of peace, memorial in honoring her,” Grace said.
“It means a lot to us to be able to drive by and see it…have a memorial there,” stepfather Ryan Schmidt said.
CBS2’s Tom Wait reports Upland city officials said the banners, which are part of a program started in 2006, are meant to recognize active duty military personnel.
Shupe’s family has been pressuring the City Council to create a policy that would allow them to keep their daughter’s banner up or create something more permanent to remember fallen soldiers from Upland.
“Recognizing that she is here, was here, is just a little bit of peace,” Grace said.
On Monday night, the council was supposed to consider a motion to keep up the banners of fallen soldiers for a year after their passing, but the issue was tabled for two weeks because not all the members were present.
That policy, however, would not help the Schmidt family’s cause because Shupe died more than a year ago.
“The flag is just a symbol of her still being a part of here and not being forgotten,” Grace said.
Mayor Ray Musser, who wants to discuss the idea of building a memorial wall for both active and deceased military members, said the council needs to take a real good look at their policy.
“We will try and get this resolved quickly. We don’t want this to linger. We want a decision and I think…we can solve this in the next couple of weeks, certainly by August have a final decision on this,” Musser said.