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Save Din Kossova's Monument to Woodrow Wilson

This petition had 24 supporters

I’d like to tell you about my friend, Din Kossova. I met Din 30 years ago at Alberto's, my favorite Italian restaurant in Palm Springs, California, where Din is a waiter. Din has an infectious smile and a warm, engaging attitude. My wife and I would go there several times a year, and like a lot of the patrons, we always requested that Din be our waiter. He is a big part of the restaurant’s charm. Din has an accent and it was apparent he was an immigrant to America, and early on I asked him about himself. He told us how, as a 14 year old boy, he and his brother snuck onto a cargo ship in a port in Albania, where he’s from, and escaped as a stowaway. After WW II, Albania became a communist country and a brutal dictatorship, and was considered for many years to be the most closed, secretive and oppressive country in the world. After escaping, Din eventually immigrated to America, attained his citizenship, and wound up in Palm Springs where he went to work at Alberto’s waiting tables in 1984.

Din told me several years ago about how he would take daily walks in the desert outside Palm Springs. In 2011, he had an inspiration to build a monument in the desert to President Woodrow Wilson, who is an American hero in Albania. After WW I, the victorious powers in Europe devised a plan to carve up Albania and give portions of it to neighboring countries Italy, Greece and Serbia. Wilson, the great American champion of self-determination, insisted the country be preserved. A statue of him stands today at Wilson Square in Albania’s capital.

For 2 years, Din hauled cement and water several miles, on foot, to a site he picked out in the desert for his monument. As a labor of love for his native country and his adopted country, America, Din singlehandedly built an impressive 20 foot tall monument to Wilson, capped with “Old Glory”. Unfortunately, it turns out the site Din picked was in an obscure, unmarked portion of Joshua Tree National Forest. After it was recently discovered by park rangers, Din has been ordered by the Court to pay a $9000 fine, and the authorities plan to demolish the monument. At the same time, the restaurant Din has worked for since 1984 is closing its doors March 31.

While his act was illegal, we recognize that it was done with the purest and most patriotic of intentions, and we respectfully request that the authorities not demolish his symbol of American greatness. 

-Blake Arnold

A USA Today Article About Din and his Monument

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