The Star-News


Five years later Bonita landmark is still standing tall

Sat, Oct 16 2010 12:00 PM Posted By: Richard Pena

One of the most memorable dates and times in American history is going to be observed next month. We are alluding to the day that we used to call Armistice Day, which marks the end of World War I.

The Germans signed the instrument that ended the war on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in the year 1918. Those who were around on that date embraced it as the end of the war that will end all wars.

Armistice Day was a great day in my growing up years. It was always a holiday. I was raised in San Antonio-an army town- and the military seldom failed to show its might.

I recall a few veterans of the Civil War but these did not last long. There were, however, a pretty fair contingent of the Spanish-American War, some looking like they could still climb the slopes of San Juan Hill. The representation, of course, was in large numbers from those who had fought in WW I.

But like most holidays, Armistice Day underwent changes.

For whatever reason the date was changed to Nov. 12 and it was amended to honor the dead of all wars, including World War II and the Korean war. Cities, from all over the nation observe this day in their own manner, parades, the town band entertaining at the town hall or town square, or perhaps the raising of the flag at some hallowed ground. Whatever it is it is generally well received.

Bonita has its own way of observing this hallowed of days. Much of this is due to the efforts of local resident Tom Pocklington. Some years ago he attended a ceremony elsewhere and the idea of having something similar here stayed with him. At about this time the building of the Bonita Museum and the County Library in the heart of Bonita was the focus of the community. The funds for this undertaking were raised through the efforts of local residents, Scott and Barbara Scott. The county supervisor, Greg Cox, was behind the project and through those efforts it came to fruition. What better place to have a memorial than at this showplace of the Bonita community?

There was, of course, the problem of raising funds for a memorial and flagpole that would lend credit to the community. Pocklington approached local business man Bob Sutherland and in a very short period time an agreement was reached.

The flagpole area, occupying a small segment of ground between the museum and library, is very well attended. There are benches nearby that are generally occupied by individuals just wanting to relax and perhaps even meditate for a few short moments. The focal point in this area is an array of bricks donated by and inscribed with the names of families who contributed to the project.

Pocklington tells us that on this coming Nov. 12 the flagpole area will observe the fifth anniversary since its dedication.

At 10 a.m. on Nov. 12 in 2005 the flagpole area, including the flag was dedicated in a formal ceremony. Members of past wars, including a few Pearl Harbor survivors were present and officiated in getting this landmark off to a fine start. The keynote speaker at this affair was Pocklington's older brother Bud, himself a veteran of World War II. A vocal group from the local high school supplied the musical portions of the affair.

The principal credit for this memorial must of course go to Pocklington- a retired military man himself.

His familiarity with the community, coupled with a tenacious manner, brought everything involved together. He is currently involved as a member of the board of directors of the Bonita Museum and a member of the Bonita/Sunnyside Fire District. He and his wife, Wanda, live in Bonita.


© 2009 The Star-News