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Opinion

Readers React: ‘United Airlines Memorial Coliseum’ would dishonor L.A.'s WWI war dead

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The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum’s name is set to change to United Airlines Memorial Coliseum in August.
(Richard Vogel / Associated Press)

To the editor: After World War I, communities large and small throughout the United States struggled with how best to remember their fallen. About 23,000 people from Los Angeles County had served in the armed forces, more than 450 of whom died in service, and within weeks after the 1918 armistice, discussions on how best to honor the troops had become heated. (“Don’t change the name of Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum,” Opinion, March 25)

One proposal soon got the most support: Los Angeles was already trying to build a large athletic complex, so the idea was advanced to make a multipurpose stadium that could hold sporting, civic and memorial events. For decades after then, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum hosted civic ceremonies on patriotic occasions like Memorial and Armistice days. Thousands would attend, but as time passed these ceremonies petered out.

Because of movies, people today can easily conjure up images of World War II, the Vietnam War and the Civil War. But most are unaware that in the Great War, more than 116,000 American service members died in just a year and a half. To put that staggering loss into perspective, every conflict the U.S. has been in since the end of World War II — Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and more — have not together resulted in more deaths than the Great War.

The builders of the Coliseum put it here so we would always remember those who served, and especially those who never made it back. Yes, it was for athletics, but it was also for them. Keep the name.

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Courtland Jindra, Los Angeles

The writer is co-director of the California World War I Centennial Task Force.

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To the editor: Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn’s timely essay about USC selling the Coliseum naming rights to United Airlines really hit home with me. As a native Angeleno who grew up close to the Coliseum, I support her plea for USC and United to work out a compromise.

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The name Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is recognized worldwide. We are still a relatively young city that needs to hold on to the wonderful memories and events associated with the Coliseum.

United Airlines would get more from its $69-million investment by agreeing to the compromise Hahn has recommended. Certainly, I and many others would remember United’s gesture the next time we decide which airline to fly.

Gil Garcetti, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Everyone knows the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is one of the most iconic venues in the world.

It is exciting to see the renovations going on inside the stadium, but at what expense? It would seem to me that we are sacrificing decades of history for the sake of money.

It wasn’t until I saw Hahn’s op-ed article that I realized that Los Angeles would be dropped from the name in favor of United Airlines. The Rose Bowl didn’t sell out its name; instead it sold the naming rights to the field. Why then can’t USC and United do the same?

Just as fans respect the rich tradition of USC football, in turn USC should respect the rich history of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

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Tim Flores, Lomita

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To the editor: In an announcement that surprised no one, United AIrlines said that as part of the renaming process of the Coliseum, half the restrooms will be closed, and the other half will be reduced in size; ticket prices will be doubled; and the seats will be narrowed, allowing 47 new “super economy” seats to be placed on top of the scoreboard.

Darcy Vernier, Marina del Rey

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