For The Veteran... By A Veteran
Provided by SSG (Ret.) Mike Mills


Arlington West - Santa Monica, CA:


During one of our trips to California, the original plans we had set up for that Sunday had changed so my daughter, Kenzie, and I decided to hit the beach and check out famous pier at Santa Monica.

As we are heading down towards the pier, we see these white crosses and flag draped coffins. As we get closer, the magnitude of white crosses is overwhelming and we realize there are also red crosses mixed in. At the head of the crosses are pillars with names, rank and date of passing of all the men and women from OEF and OIF.

Kenzie and I search for 5 names. SGT Manny Hornedo, SGT Spence Aker, SGT Duane Dreasky, SGT Josh Youmans and SGT Matt Webber.

Located off to the side was large tent with a sign that read "Arlington West".

Some of the crosses were labeled with names and some were left blank. After talking to one of the volunteers she explained there is one white cross for each military member lost. The red one represent 10. They had run out of room allotted to them so needed combine numbers.

I explained to her who and what the 5 soldiers meant to me and my family. She showed me where someone had been there and dedicated a cross to SGT Akers and after assisting us in dedicating crosses to the other 4, assured me they would always be kept together each time they were erected.

The emotions I felt as I stood looking at the crosses were so mixed. I was proud and honored to be part of such an elite group that these men and women gave their life as I would have. At the same time I was sad and angry they were gone.

Arlington West is located on the beach of Santa Monica as well as other beaches up and down the California coast. Each location has it's own set of volunteers that pain staking take down and set up each and every cross every Sunday (some have varied Sundays and hours, check the website for best information.)

I am so touched by this display of dedication and patriotism by the volunteers, this SSG salutes you!

Click to view Arlington West - Santa Monica

The photos below are from my trip to Arlington West. By clicking on the picture, you can enlarge it.





***Not all the views and opinions held by Arlington West are necessarily those of FOR THE VETERAN...BY A VETERAN***