Veteran Wants to Rededicate Memorial Flagpole to Lodi Auxiliary Members

LODI -- A Lodi veteran says he wants to rededicate a long forgotten memorial to veteran families that has been hidden by time at Lodi's Legion Park.

The flagpole, which stands next to the more contemporary basketball court, has fallen into disuse after monstrous branches from an aging tree engulfed it.

"It’s invisible, it’s basically invisible," said Lodi artist John Callahan.

Callahan was restoring the park’s historic fountain sculpture when he discovered the flagpole when going to the restroom. He also found a tiny plaque at its base.

"It says, 'Dedicated in memory to our deceased members, American Legion Auxiliary Lodi Unit Number 22,'" Callahan recalled.

A veteran himself, John thought that the flagpole should be revived for the sake of auxiliary members, who are basically civilian supporters of the American Legion.

"Their family and their relatives and their kids would be very pleased to see that we’re recognizing them and haven’t forgotten about them," Callahan said.

The city has no money to trim the massive tree and is not anxious to disfigure it.

Callahan's idea is to actually move the flagpole to a more visible and more respectful location, like on the corner of the park next to its iconic fountain.

When Callahan renovated the historic fountain he found donors and volunteers who saved the city several thousand dollars. He figures a rededicated memorial flagpole, which may cost between $5,000 and $10,000, is worth the effort.

"For the city, for our veterans and for the auxiliary, I just thought it would be the right thing to do," Callahan told FOX40.

Callahan does not know how exactly he’ll raise the funds, although he’s already been contacted by donors and supporters. He hopes to rededicate the new flagpole on Veterans Day this year.