Gov. Jan Brewer’s signature on a bill clearing the way for the construction of a complete WWII Memorial in Phoenix has brought a vision to reality.
Over the last year, Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett and the Salute the Fallen Committee have worked tirelessly to bring a 14” gun barrel from the USS Arizona and a 16” barrel from the USS Missouri to Phoenix for permanent display in Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza in front of our state capitol. It’s their hope that adding two visible bookends from the war will encourage people to reflect and admire the strength and courage it takes to defend a nation.
Senate Bill 1126, signed into law by the Governor last week, allows gun barrels from the historic battleships to be placed between the USS Arizona’s anchor and signal mast, which are currently located at either end of the planned Memorial.
“The passage of this legislation into law is not insignificant,” Bennett said. ”The Governor’s signature and swift action taken by the legislature pay tribute to the fallen heroes of World War II and recognizes the hard work of those who returned and transformed our state into the place we call home. Our committee, donors, volunteers and corporate sponsors express our deepest gratitude and we appreciate their commitment to preserve our history and honor those who sacrificed their lives in the name of freedom.”
“We would also like to thank Phoenix Rotary 100 for their collaboration on this effort. They generously agreed to act as our sponsoring charity and designated a special committee to assist with our project. President Jon Bauman and Campaign Co-Chair’s Jerry Oliver and Karny Stefan have been essential in building broad-based community support and fundraising help.
“Finally, it has been an honor to work with Director Joe Strickland and the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services who are supporting this project.”
Over the next few months, the gun barrels will be transported from Virginia to Arizona, with Bennett attending the lift of the USS Arizona barrel in April. To track the barrel’s progress and location as they travel their way across the country, visit www.GunsToSaluteTheFallen.com.
“Too often we forget about how far we’ve actually gotten away from honoring our Nation’s fallen soldiers,” Bennett said. “Our veterans have made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of all of us, and it is our responsibility to honor that sacrifice. I would encourage anyone who can to get involved in our WWII Memorial project. People can visit our site to find out what they can do to get involved, or simply make a contribution to salute the Fallen.”
Tax deductible contributions may be made out to:
Phoenix Rotary Charities, “WWII Memorial Project”
501 E. Osborn Road, Phoenix, AZ 85012
Arizona Secretary of State, “Guns to Salute the Fallen”
1700 W. Washington, Phoenix, AZ 85007