The League of Wives Memorial Project team is working diligently to raise awareness and the funds needed to create a memorial statue in Coronado to honor Mrs. Sybil Stockdale and the ‘League of Wives’ for playing a major role in both local and national history. 2023 marks the 50th anniversary of Operation Homefront, the homecoming of 591 POWs from Vietnam in 1973, making the completion of the Memorial project all that more meaningful. Coronado was home to Sybil Stockdale, the leader and founder of the ‘League of Wives,’ who encouraged the group to go public with the status of their husbands’ imprisonment in 1968, helping to bring an end to the torture of the Vietnam POWs and influencing government policy that led to the safe return of the service members. November 25th would have been the late Sybil Stockdale’s 99th birthday and the memorial project team is launching a campaign that will last through Giving Tuesday on November 28th in an effort to reach their monetary goal of $343,000.
Christina Bagaglio Slentz, Co-Chair of the League Of Wives said “The actions of the League of Wives broke with traditional expectations and forever transformed the role of the military spouse, giving a voice to military families that remains critical to the well-being and readiness of our Armed Services today.” She went on to share that “The unique support provided by the Coronado community empowered these women to do more than endure their circumstances as POW/MIA wives, providing a critical center of gravity and enabling Sybil Stockdale and her League to step outside of the passive, traditional role of a Military Wife and to take action, speaking on behalf of their husbands and giving rise to a national movement.”
The plan, if fully funded, is to have the 6-foot tall bronze statue unveiled in Star Park Circle next may May, during the Month of the Military Spouse. Slentz said “To our knowledge, this memorial would be the first monument in the country to honor military spouses. We cannot think of a better person to be at center than Mrs. Stockdale and know that she would be pleased to know this tribute resides in beautiful Coronado.” Slentz went on to say, “It is no secret that military spouses and families have long served a critical role in the provision of our national and global security. At a time when women’s voices were not welcome, The League of Wives summoned a graceful resolve to take their mission to advocate for their husbands from the dining room table in the Stockdale home in Coronado to the international negotiating table. We hope that many will want to be a part of recognizing and honoring these ladies who changed the course of history.”
For those interested in supporting the League of Wives Memorial Project, they can donate electronically through their website at leagueofwives.com. For those wanting to send a check, they can do so by mailing it to: The League of Wives Memorial Project, P.O. Box 180206, Coronado, CA 92178.
Many local organizations, foundations and community members have donated to this project raising $250,000 so far. One donor has committed to match funds up to $25,000 if the target funding goal can be met by the end of 2023. The League of Wives Memorial Project is a non-profit, certified 501(c)(3) organization co-chaired by Alexia Palacios-Peters and Christina Slentz. Its founder, local Coronado resident Brad Willis, was a NBC News foreign correspondent, author, filmmaker and award-winning journalist who worked around the world during his career.
More information can be found at their website at leagueofwives.com.