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Mount Soledad salutes Memorial flag raisers in La Jolla

The Memorial atop Soledad Mountain in La Jolla has more than 3,000 plaques honoring veterans, living and deceased, from the Revolutionary War to the current conflicts in the Middle East.
The Memorial atop Soledad Mountain in La Jolla has more than 3,000 plaques honoring veterans, living and deceased, from the Revolutionary War to the current conflicts in the Middle East.
Ashley Mackin

This summer, electrical power was installed at the memorial permanently lighting the Stars and Stripes at the base of Mount Soledad’s memorial. With the lighting installed, the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Association held a retirement ceremony for the 12 dedicated volunteers who were responsible for raising and lowering the flag daily for the past 16 years on Sept. 16, 2015.

Jim Kitchel, a Marine Corps veteran, was appointed flag coordinator volunteer eight years ago and has recruited new “flag raisers” as well as honoring those for their service as they have stepped into retirement.

Mount Soledad’s president, Bruce Bailey was a dedicated flag raiser for more than eight years, every Wednesday morning and afternoon. This requires dedication, for the flag is to be raised before 8 a.m. and lowered before sunset every evening. Visitors have been asked to assist in the “retiring of the colors” and make a perfect triangular fold of the flag. Flag pins are handed to those assisting and a photograph is taken, which becomes a lifetime memory of their visit.

The Mount Soledad’s flag raisers are:

Jim Kitchel

Denise Larkins

Jamie Tollefson

Chris Townson

Jim Kyres

Allen McAnally

Shawn Cromwell

Rick Preskitt

Warren Morgans

Bert Mawhinney

Mike Gerber