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The city of Chandler is moving forward with the city’s veterans memorial, and ocials hope to nish construction by November 2021.
like this, for them, is a silent way of thanking those who served and hon- oring the memories of those who never came home and all of the mili- tary families.” The memorial is the rst of its size and scope in the southeast valley, according to city ocials. With the second phase complete, the memo- rial will take up roughly half an acre at Veterans Oasis Park. The memorial space will honor all veterans and pay tribute to all branches of the military while highlighting a wide range of American history, serving as an educa- tional resource and providing a space for reection for the greater southeast community. “It’s been four years since the rst phase of Chandler’s Field of Honor Veterans Memorial was dedicated, and I’m pleased to see the process nally proceed to the second phase,” Chandler Mayor Kevin Hartke said. “This memorial is important to our community and to the council. It’s a way to properly remember our local veterans and recognize them for their service and sacrice to our nation.” City ocials hope the memorial will be complete in November 2021. The second phase is expected to cost $1.8 million, funded through the city’s general government capital projects fund. Honoring their service According to 5-year American Com- munity Survey results from the U.S. Census Bureau, between 2014-18 there were 12,662 veterans living in the city of Chandler—roughly 5% of Chandler’s overall population. In 2017, more than half a million Arizona residents were veterans, according to data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Aairs, about 10% of the state’s population. City ocials hope the memorial serves as a place of remembrance and recognition for veterans in the entire southeast Valley. Orlando, aveteranhimself, saidwith a rich history in the city’s fabric of vet- erans, the city wanted to honor their service and sacrice in 2008 when the process of creating this memorial began. The city worked with various veterans organizations to come up with the design. The two phases of the memorial’s design are a reection of that original design thought up by some of the city’s veterans. When nished, the memorial will appear like a waving American ag from above. Each section of the ag
The eld of blocks appears to be in formation, which is designed to emulate service members leaving to to ght for the country’s freedoms.
The blocks and walls of the memorial oer the opportunity to record memories with inscriptions.
The overlook area that is complete now is meant to signify family watching over their loved ones and the country while service members are away.
2008 Park complete
2021 Expected completion of the memorial
2016 First phase of memorial complete
2011 Memorial concept completed
2005 Veterans Oasis Park named
SOURCE: CITY OF CHANDLERCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
and the pillars creating the ag will have meaning honoring sacrice, memories and the families of those who have served. “I love how they divided every- thing,” said Mike Simon, president of the American Legion Post 91 in Chan- dler. “I’m glad the council views this as important enough to re-evaluate and put back on the map. The design and the why behind it—I think when it’s all said and done—I think it will be something people will go back and look at and be in awe. I think a tangible memorial is so important to veterans. How can you ever forget if it’s in the forefront and you continue to see it? You can never forget it.” Mickey Ohland, park development and operations manager at the city, said he was honored to witness the process of developing the memorial. The rst phase was designed by veter- ans and largely funded by donations, including a sizable donation from the Gila River Indian Community, Ohland said. Of the $716,865, about more than $500,000 came from donations. The city picked up the rest of the cost. Lew Bradley, a Chandler resident who joined the Marines in 1950 at age 17, was part of the planning and fund- raising process. “I’m looking forward to seeing it
guy who lives in Chandler,” Sepul- veda said. “If it’s worth talking about, it should be worth making sure it happens.” For Ashley McWhirt, who has been serving in the Marines for 12 years— both active duty and reserves and currently works as a police records clerk with the Chandler Police Depart- ment—said she is excited about the memorial. “It’s just kind of exciting that we can nally get it done,” McWhirt said. “I think it’s always nice to have some- where for veterans to go and think about and remember all the times they had in the service and what it all represents for America and for all of our freedom.” Orlando said he was hopeful the memorial would be nished by Vet- erans Day 2021. Ohland said he also expected the project to be nished by Veterans Day 2021 and said he was grateful to see the second phase mov- ing forward. “I think it’s going to be a very spe- cial place,” Ohland said. “The design of it, and the honor of it, it’s really incredible.”
completed,” Bradley said. “It’s even got my name on it on a plaque they have out there for the donors. It sure is so special. I pulled $10,000 frommy IRA and donated it to the construction of it.” Eects of thememorial Bradley said he is grateful for a space that veterans and community members can visit to have a picnic, event or meeting, or just a space to sit and reect. “I see it as a symbol of gratitude,” Bradley said. “When it’s done, I want people to come and see it. Maybe they might even want to join the service.” Martin Sepulveda, a former Chan- dler City Council member, said there has been a lot of talk of nishing the memorial, but he said he wants to see action. Sepulveda was enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and earned a commission to y in the Navy before leaving active duty in 1988 and contin- ued to serve in the U.S. Navy Reserve before retiring as a commander in May 2015. He was on the council when discussions of the memorial began. He said he believes the memorial has taken so long to nish because the council is not prioritizing it. “This [memorial] doesn’t make or break who I am as a veteran or as a
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CHANDLER EDITION • OCTOBER 2020
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