By the end of 2015, Vista will have two new military memorials.
The Vista Hi-Noon Rotary Club recently broke ground to build a memorial wall that pays homage to all branches of the military.
"This memorial will be a wall dedicated to all military servicemen and women, past, present and future," said Hi-Noon Rotary Club vice president Daryl McFarland.
Representing her deceased parents and her surviving siblings, Mary Ann Pinamonti is spearheading the building of another memorial,
Ernie's Place, in honor of her 19-year-old brother, Ernie Pinamonti, who died in 1969 while serving as a soldier in Vietnam.
"The Rotary Veterans' Memorial Wall has been in the planning stages for over two years,” said Andrea McCullough, a spokesperson for the City of Vista. “It is on a pathway near Vista Village Drive, along an area called Rotary Lane….
"The Vietnam Memorial, honoring all Vietnam Vets, and named in honor of fallen soldier Ernie Pinamonti, known as Ernie's Place, is located within Paseo Pointe, on South Santa Fe Avenue,” confirmed McCullough.
Why have the two military memorials developed at the same time, within one block of each other, both in downtown Vista?
"Vista always needed a military memorial," said McFarland, the Rotarian. "With Vista’s proximity to Camp Pendleton, the dedication of this military memorial wall will let everyone know that we in Vista care and remember.”
The Vietnam Memorial had been languishing in the planning stages for over 20 years. John Meyer, Vistas director of redevelopment and housing, recently suggested a compromise location to the delight of the collaborative efforts of the Pinamonti family.
A new Vista housing project needed open-air green space. The original land that the elder Pinamontis had donated for their son’s memorial was swapped for the public parkland incorporated into the housing project.
“We are excited to see our dream finally come to fruition,” stated Mary Ann Pinamonti. “There is never closure when a loved one is lost. We are not doing this for closure but to remember. There is no competition between the complementary projects, by the way. There can never be too many parks or places of beauty in our community….
“The main focus of Ernie’s Place is a pause in our world where we can sit and think. It is our hope that children play there. We are carrying on something our parents wanted and we are excited to be so close to seeing it being completed after all these years.”