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SF's War Memorial Complex Finally Gets a War Memorial

Scott Lucas | October 13, 2014 | Lifestyle Story City Life

It only took four tries and 82 years, but downtown's War Memorial Complex finally has an actual war memorial—and just in time for Fleet Week. Ever since the War Memorial Opera House opened near City Hall in 1932, a patch of land nearby has been designated as the site of a commemoration. But, this being San Francisco, development came slowly. Really slowly.

The first attempt—a tall spire—came bundled with the original design of the complex but was eventually scrapped for lack of funds. In 1935, famous landscape architect Thomas Church designed a garden that included soil from various battlefields, and reserved space for another sculpture. But, once again, the project stalled, despite multiple attempts over the last 30 years.

Finally, J. Michael Myatt, a retired Marine Corps major general, led a fundraising drive that found $2.5 million in private donations to build a memorial. It only took him seven years. The memorial was designed by Susan Narduli, who put in reflecting pool and a polished granite wall, and was dedicated on Friday afternoon.

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