Newest "Brick by Brick" video honors Dennis Lander
Lakewood CityTV’s second video in the series recognizes the unique contribution that the late Dennis Lander made to Lakewood’s cherished Veterans Memorial Plaza at Del Valle Park.
Lander was one of the original “Lakewood kids” who grew up in the community during the 1950s and ‘60s and later served in Vietnam. Lander’s name is inscribed on a brick installed at the Del Valle Park Veterans Memorial Plaza, but his legacy includes the touching poem he wrote when he returned from Vietnam and saw the names of the Lakewood fallen on a plaque there. He realized that those young men were the same ones who played on the airplane when it was first installed at the park.
“If there’s a message to that poem,” said Lander, “it’s the one line that says ‘moms and dads bring your kids on by and read a name or two.’ That’s the essence of the whole poem to me, because when I wrote it…I wanted young families in Lakewood years from now to walk over there and read that poem and read those names and see them together.” He believed the two words on the memorial “We Honor” summed up the Lakewood community’s dedication to its veterans.
See Dennis Lander tell his story at www.lakewoodcity.org/HonoringLander. Lakewood CityTV is working on more videos featuring Lakewood veterans in this series.
In 2015, the expansion of the Veterans Memorial Plaza at Del Valle Park included an installation of inscribed bricks purchased by the public to honor veterans or active duty military service members. The following year, the city launched the Lakewood Veterans History Project website (www.lakewoodveterans.org) to tell the stories of those honored by the bricks at the Veterans Memorial.
Bricks may still be purchased to honor veterans and are installed each year just prior to the city’s Memorial Day ceremony. Stories of all Lakewood-connected veterans (brick purchase is not required) are welcome to be submitted for posting on the Lakewood Veterans History Project website. For more information, please visit www.lakewoodveterans.org, stop by the Public Works counter at Lakewood City Hall, or call 562-866-9771, extension 2140.