WW II memorial to be unveiled

2013-10-07T00:00:00Z WW II memorial to be unveiledBy Darren DaRonco Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

After nearly a decade of delays, the city is putting the finishing touches on its memorial to World War II veterans.

The city will unveil the $200,000 public art project at 9:30 a.m. Nov. 1 with a ceremony at Armory Park.

The city started plans in 2005 to erect a tribute to Tucsonans who lost their lives during the war.

But city financial woes delayed the project. It finally found enough money to move the project forward in July.

Mayor Jonathan Rothschild said the memorial is a fitting tribute to local veterans.

Rothschild looks forward to extravagant celebrations on the site in future years as a way to continue honoring those who served.

For November’s ceremony, the details are still getting worked out, but so far it’s expected to entail the Fort Huachuca color guard, speakers and much more, said Sierra Davenport, community promotions and marketing manger for Tucson Parks and Recreation.

Councilman Richard Fimbres, who has spearheaded the memorial project since 2010, said the memorial’s dedication completes eight years of hard work by many in the community.

He said about 400 Tucsonans who died in the war will have their names displayed on the memorial in the park where many of them began their service. Armory Park is also home to a World War I memorial.

“Armory Park is where the recruits boarded the buses to go to training during World War II, to serve our country in the armed services,” Fimbres wrote in an email. “It is fitting that those who served will be memorialized” at that site.

But some veterans disagreed with the location from the beginning.

Many of them wanted the memorial located at Kino Veterans Memorial Park near other existing war memorials.

The city’s Veterans Affairs Committee voted against the site last year. Although many plan on attending the ceremony, committee member Vern Pall said that if the panel voted again, the results would be the same.

Pall was booted from the committee last February when Fimbres and Rothschild pulled his name from reappointment after his term expired.

Pall said it was in response to a letter he wrote at the behest of the veterans committee criticizing the Armory Park site.

Both the mayor and Fimbres said Pall’s ouster was due to a miscommunication they had with city staffers and wasn’t intentional.

Pall met with both Rothschild and Fimbres on separate occasions after he was removed and cleared the air.

“Vern and I sat down and had a good talk,” Rothschild wrote in an email. “He (wants) the best for the city, and he is an excellent representative on veteran’s issues. He is just the kind of person we want to have serve.”

Pall was subsequently reinstated on the board.

While he was one of the planned speakers for the November ceremony, Pall won’t be able to attend anymore because he will be out of town.

Contact reporter Darren DaRonco at 573-4243 or ddaronco@azstarnet.com. Follow him on Twitter

@DarrenDaRonco.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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