Capping the annual weeklong Samoan Cultural Celebration in his native Oceanside, CA on Saturday, Junior Seau’s family commemorated two beachfront landmarks in the late San Diego Charger’s honor, according to the U-T San Diego.
Hundreds of fans, family and community members gathered for the ceremony, where Oceanside officials unveiled the monuments by removing a traditional Samoan tapa cloth from them. The landmarks are displayed in front of the Beach Community Center and the Pier Amphitheatre.
Seau shot himself just over two months ago, on May 2. He was 43 years old.
The Oceanside City Council voted 3-2 on May 16 to dedicate these popular locales after Seau. From his teenage years, Seau had been a local legend in his community and the greater San Diego area. He was a standout linebacker at Oceanside High School and from there matriculated to the University of Southern California where he started the fabled “55 Club”, named for great linebackers that have earned the right to wear No. 55 on their backs. After an illustrious college career the Chargers drafted him in 1990. He is without question considered to be a first-ballot NFL Hall of Famer, an honor he won’t be able to receive until at least 2015, five years after his last game.
Seau lived on Oceanside’s Strand, just south of the amphitheater. Over his NFL career he gave thousands of dollars and countless hours back to his community, even when he was no longer a San Diego Charger. Oceanside has a long-standing policy that requires a two-year waiting period after someone’s death before renaming a facility for him or her, but it was waved in this case because many in the community felt that this was the most appropriate thing to do to honor his legacy.
To the U-T San Diego Times, Seau’s siter Annette Seau-So’oto spoke of the city’s decision to dedicate two facilities to her brother:
“We’re just overwhelmed with the outpour that the community has given to the family. I’m not going to lie, it’s difficult when it’s times like this, because it opens the wound that he’s really gone, but we’re day by day. God is definitely giving us the strength and I think Junior’s giving us the strength to move on.”
With this gesture, Junior Seau’s name will be able to live on through generations, serving as a reminder of one of the greatest Trojans and San Diego Chargers of all time.