PASADENA (CBSLA.com) — It’s taken three years, and more than $450,000 in fundraising efforts, but a statue honoring the 11 men and women from Pasadena killed in the line of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, will be unveiled Monday.
“It’s very rewarding. right now, it’s like yes, yes we did it,” says Rogelio Ramirez.
The statue will live in Defenders Park in Pasadena.
KCAL 9’s Cristy Fajardo spoke to Ramirez, the father of one soldier who is grateful his son is not forgotten.
For 10 years, Ramirez has never forgotten his fallen hero — his namesake, Marine Lance Corporal Rogelio Ramirez Jr.
And this Memorial Day. Ramirez and 10 other Gold Star families have proof Pasadena hasn’t forgotten the troops either.
“It’s not just about the barbecue, on this holiday. But it’s about feeling for those who gave their lives.,” Ramirez says.
Those who gave their lives are now memorialized on banners. And the new, highly-anticipated statue.
It was commissioned by the Enduring Heroes Committee who felt Pasadena should have a monument for the 11 heroes — 10 men, 1 woman — from the area who died in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Last year, Fajardo watched the statue being made as a work in progress. Janie Studemund is on the committee.
Her son, Scott, is one of the fallen. His heroism in Afghanistan was inspiration for the project.
“Before he died, before he ran up the ridge,” sais Studemund, “he saved his medic’s life.”
The 8-and-one-half foot high statue contains a trait from each of the fallen and the flag contains a personal note from each of their families, as well.
Ramirez senior says his note reads, “Un muchacho muy valiente,” which means “A very brave young man.”
When the tarp comes off, the 11 Gold Star families will be there joined by those who served with the fallen.
Ramirez hopes his grandson — who never got to meet his own father — will finally meet the man his father saved in combat just hours before he was killed.
“He’s alive because Rogelio saved his life. That really touches me deeply,” said Ramirez.
The ceremony is set to begin at 3 p.m. and is open to the public.