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Manteca planning 80-foot flag pole at transit station
MEMORIAL5 5-24-12a
Eighteen individual memorials for the 18 Manteca residents who died in Vietnam are in front of Brock Elliott School. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Next Memorial Day the 2,400 flags fluttering along Manteca’s major streets may be joined by a massive flag flying at South Main Street and Moffat Boulevard.

Manteca Mayor Willie Weatherford confirmed municipal staff is working in incorporating a flag pole – it could go as high as 80 feet – into the grounds of the $6.1 million transit station targeted for a mid-April 2013 completion. There is funding in the project to cover the cost of the flag pole.

The City Council thought it would be an appropriate complement to the Manteca Flags over Manteca effort that started after Sept. 11, 2011. The chamber raised $60,000 in less than two months to start the flag tradition.

“Manteca is a very patriotic community,” Weatherford said. “A lot of people from here have served and are serving in the military.”

Weatherford said after the economy improves and city funding has picked back up, he would like to see Manteca move forward with a park that will serve as a tribute to all of the Armed Forces and those who have served.

One proposal was for a linear park with a tidal basin sounded by the flags of the various services next to the proposed San Joaquin County South County government center across from the Big League Dreams sports complex.

“It doesn’t matter exactly where it goes but we need to do it,” Weatherford said.

He indicated the city – when the time comes – will call on the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion for input on the design.

Manteca already has three memorials to the fallen.

• Manteca area residents who gave their lives in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War are remembered on plaques in the flag pole plaza in front of the Manteca Library, 320 Center St.

• The 18 Manteca area soldiers who died in Vietnam are honored on 18 separate plaques mounted on rocks on front of the Brock Elliott School named in honor of the first Mantecan to fall in Vietnam.

• A plaque mounted on a rock just inside the gates of the Big League Dreams sports complex by the flag poles honors Charles O. Palmer II who was killed in Iraq during the Global War on Terror.

In addition, Manteca has two traveling tributes - one for the Global War on Terror and the other honoring the 957 Manteca men who served in World War II.