City Council approves design contract for the completion of the Field of Honor Veterans Memorial

Nov. 10, 2020
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Communications and Public Affairs

A solemn and striking memorial to East Valley veterans will move closer to completion in 2021, now that the Chandler City Council has approved $240,821 to fund the design of the second and final design phase of the Field of Honor Veterans Memorial. When completed, this beautiful and lasting memorial will cover nearly an acre on the northeast corner of Chandler Heights and Lindsay roads, within Veterans Oasis Park.

Since the first phase was dedicated in 2016, the Field of Honor has served as a tangible monument honoring all the men and women who have served in all branches of the U.S. military since our nation’s founding and those who will serve for generations yet to come. The memorial space is a tribute to not only those who stood or are currently standing the watch, but also their supportive family members who made their own sacrifices on behalf of our county.

The existing initial phase of the Field of Honor features an elevated plaza with a star-shaped overlook reminiscent of the form of the Arizona State Flag. From this space, visitors can peer down into what will become Phase II.

History of the Memorial Project

For many years, the only memorial in the community for our military veterans was a small monument placed in the downtown square, within Dr. A.J. Chandler Park. Shortly after the completion of Veterans Oasis Park, City staff began meeting with engaged residents and several local veterans groups to develop the conceptual plan for a memorial within the park.

Councilmember Matt Orlando, Colonel U.S. Air Force (Retired), chaired the original committee of veterans and community and business leaders who helped to facilitate a fundraising campaign that leads to the completion of the first phase at a cost of $716,865. “Recognizing and remembering our nation’s servicemen and women who have defended the freedom we enjoy has always been the right thing to do,” Councilmember Orlando said at the time.

First phase donations included a sizable contribution in the amount of $500,000 from the Gila River Indian Community. Many members of the neighboring Gila River Indian Community served in the U.S. armed forces, including such notable young men as Mathew B. Juan, the first Arizonan to be killed in World War I, and Ira Hayes, who helped raise the American flag on Iwo Jima during World War II.

Symbolism and Meaning of the Memorial Design

The memorial’s concept and design is anchored by six core values: FREEDOM, RECOGNITION, REFLECTION, SACRIFICE, MEMORIES, and FAMILY. They are highlighted in this mission statement for the memorial:

In pursuit of FREEDOM for all, millions have served this country they love;

They deserve our RECOGNITION, for they have earned our utmost respect;

We will consecrate a place of REFLECTION, and welcome all to join in the salute;

Though we can never repay their SACRIFICE and actions exemplifying service greater than self; Forever, their MEMORIES will live in our hearts, and we shall not fail to pay them tribute; Together, our united American FAMILY will find strength in this healing oasis, this Field of Honor.

When standing on the elevated star-shaped plaza of Phase I, visitors will peer down into the memorial and gain a feeling of watching over their country while their friends or loved ones are away. Below they will see a rolling, grass-covered landform that emulates the ripples of the American Flag blowing in the wind. A grid of stone columns of various heights will help define the flag’s stars and stripes and also symbolize soldiers marching in unison – off to war and then returning. Twenty-one of the stone cubes will be completely submerged within the earth as a tribute, symbolizing a twenty-one gun salute for those who did not return from war.

Veterans Day 2021 Ceremony Planned

Chandler’s Veterans Memorial will serve as a point of pride for Chandler, Gila River Indian Community and the entire East Valley. Chandler’s Community Services Planning Manager Mickey Ohland expects the project to be finished by Veterans Day 2021.

“I think veterans and their families will find the memorial to be a solemn and inspiring tribute to their sacrifices, in times of peace and war, in service to preserving our freedom,” Ohland says.

For more information about the Field of Honor Veterans Memorial, graphic renderings of the original design, please view the original Field of Honor Veterans Memorial Brochure.