9/29/2013 6:00:00 AM WWII Memorial dedication is set for Pearl Harbor Day
Courtesy photo Gun barrels from the USS Arizona and USS Missouri flank steel pylons bearing the names of Arizona’s fallen World War II soldiers.
Special to the Courier
Wesley Bolin Plaza Memorial Park at the Arizona State Capitol will be the location of a new memorial honoring the nearly 2,000 men and women of Arizona who sacrificed their lives in World War II. The public is encouraged to attend the WWII Memorial dedication at the state Capitol in Phoenix beginning at 8 a.m. on Pearl Harbor Day, Dec. 7, 2013, with the laying of wreaths by many organizations across the state to open the festivities. If your organization is interested in participating in presenting a wreath at the ceremony, contact Judith Hatch at 3801 W. Sahuaro Drive, Phoenix, AZ 85029-4063, email her at email@example.com, or call 602-628-7089. You must register your organization for participation by Nov. 7. Your organization will be listed in the program. The wreath ceremony is limited to two persons per organization.
You may also purchase a memorial paver for the WWII Memorial at gunstosalutethefallen.com. Oct. 1 is the deadline to purchase a 4-inch by 8-inch brick paver for $125 (three lines of text, 20 characters per line), 8-inch by 8-inch brick paver for $500 (six lines of text, 20 characters per line) or 12-inch by 12-inch granite paver for $1,000 (10 lines of text, 20 characters per line). The pavers will be installed as a walkway surrounding the new memorial now under construction. Funds will go toward the construction of the memorial. All funds come from private donations and contributions and no taxpayer dollars have been used for the project. Call Kim Crawford at the Arizona Secretary of State office, 602-542-6170. Paver orders are accepted by phone or at gunstosalutethefallen.com. You may also make a donation by sending a check to support the project, payable to AZSOS Guns To Salute The Fallen Project, 1700 W. Washington St., Seventh Floor, Phoenix, AZ 85007.
Arizona citizens may enter to win one of eight living history flight experiences aboard the fully restored WWII Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, "Sentimental Journey," offered by the Airbase Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum at Falcon Field in Mesa. See the details for entry at the website given above. Entries are $20 each or six for $100. A drawing will take place at the close of the dedication ceremony.
The dream of the WWII Memorial began in 2011 when two historic gun barrels were about to be sold for scrap metal in Virginia. Efforts to bring the guns to Phoenix finally came about in the spring of 2012. The two gun barrels, a 14-inch gun off the USS Arizona and a 16-inch gun off the USS Missouri, will flank Mediterranean-blue steel pylons bearing placards with the names of Arizona's fallen WWII soldiers. The nine pylons, representing the nine minutes of the sinking of the USS Arizona, will symbolically represent the silhouette outline of the structural support of the ship.
The gun barrel from the USS Arizona signifies the beginning of American involvement in WWII and the gun barrel from the Battleship USS Missouri symbolizes the signing of the peace treaty ending WWII. "They really represent the bookends of World War II," said Secretary of State Ken Bennett, who led the effort to bring the guns to Arizona.
Final preparations are underway for the memorial. The restored guns will now join other historical pieces (an anchor and a signal tower from the USS Arizona sunk at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941) at the Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza.
For more information, photos and videos, visit www.gunstosalutethefallen.com and www.azsos.gov/releases/2013/pressrelease14.htm.