Veterans Memorial Park

March 26, 2020

#91 Veterans Memorial Park – 339 Veterans Parkway

Background: According to the city, the park was formerly designated as Park Plaza “A” and John S. Stevens Veterans Memorial. It joined the park system in 1980. The small park hugs the Arkansas river and offers a great view of “the Keeper of the Plains” and Exploration Place.

What we did: With Jeremy still working, I thought this would be a great opportunity to celebrate our veterans. I have four veterans in my immediate family, my dad (Ken, Army E-5 Specialist), father-in-law (Randy, Navy Aviation Machinist mate 2nd class), and two uncles (Juilo, Army and Mike, Marine).

The park is mostly a series of memorials dedicated to the various wars and those that defended liberty, some even giving their lives for their country. So here are pictures from the Veterans Memorial Park. I tried to add a little information from the official webpage and my own research about each memorial in the picture’s caption, so check them out.

U.S.S. Wichita Memorial honors the ship that America sent to Japan to free prisoners of WWII. The warship earned 13 Battle Stars during the war.

Operation Freedom Memorial, Honors those service members who fell at the hands of terrorism, the Operation Freedom Memorial was dedicated in the park in 2014.

These black granite walls list the names of all of the Kansas servicemen and women who died in conflicts related to the war on terrorism.

U.S. Marine Corps & U.S. Navy Hospital Corps Memorial, honors all Marines and the Hospital Corpsmen, who served and gave medical care during battle.

The US Navy Armed Guard and the US Merchant Marine Memorials honor the sacrifices of the crews and ships used to transport necessities during wartime.

The USS Dorado Memorial reflects the US Submarine Veterans of WWII commitment to remember their brothers lost at sea and on Eternal Patrol.  The MK-14 Steam Torpedo was the primary weapon of US Navy submarines during WWII.

Pearl Harbor Survivors Memorial honors the 1,500 US military men and women who were killed on Dec. 7, 1941, when Japan dropped a bomb on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

Dedicated in May 2017, World War II Memorial features two 6 foot tall black granite panels surrounded by a pathway of bricks marking the names of men and women who served in World War II.

Bicentennial Flag Pavilion, Designed in 1976 and dedicated in 1977, this pavilion houses 15 flags representing the evolution of America over the past two centuries. From the flag that once flew on Christopher Columbus’ Santa Maria to the current United States of America flag.

American Revolutionary War Memorial, The US saw the loss or injury of nearly 13,000 colonists during the Revolutionary War, which began in 1775. This memorial remembers their sacrifice as they fought to build the foundation of the country we’ve grown to love.

Reconciliation Memorial (U.S. Civil War Memorial), When Kansas became a state, it rejected the idea of slavery, and fought with the North. This Memorial pays tribute to both the North and the South, showing unity between the two sides after the Civil War ended in 1865.

Kansas Korean War Veterans Memorial, with the help of money raised by the Kansas Korean War Veteran’s Association, Richard Bergen finished this memorial in 1996.

The Kansas Korean War Veterans Memorial includes the American, Korean, Kansas, POW/MIA and Korean Veteran flags as a tribute to those who served.

Vietnam War Veterans Memorial honors more than 58,000 U.S. troops killed during the conflict in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Dedicated in 1993, this memorial houses the names of all the servicemen and women who died in Vietnam with Wichita ties.

Homefront Memorial, dedicated in 1994

Prisoners of War & Missing in Action Memorial There are more than 78,000 POW soldiers from World War II, 2,000 from the Korean War and 3,000 from the Vietnam War. This monument remembers all those lost with Kansas ties.

Berlin Airlift Veterans Memorial. This honors the US delivery of food and water into West Berlin after Soviet troops blocked all land routes into the city. It took more than 200,000 planes to carry more than 1.5 million tons of aid to the area. Wichita is one of only three Parks in the country that has a monument honoring the Berlin Airlift

America’s Gold Star Families Memorial was dedicated in 2004. Members of the Gold Star Wives of America include the wives, sweethearts and other loved-ones of those lost in military campaigns.

Military Order of the Purple Heart Memorial, The Purple Heart is a military award inspired by General George Washington’s 1782 Badge of Merit. It is the oldest award to be given to those wounded or killed in the line of duty. In 1932 the Badge of Merit was renamed the Purple Heart.

American Gold Star Mothers Memorial, In 1929, the Kansas Chapter of the American Gold Star Mothers formed to create a support system for mothers who had lost their children in battle.

On Wednesday, I had the pleasure of walking the park with my good friend, Gordon Bassham, a veteran (Navy), and honestly, one of the most interesting people I have ever met.

There is one memorial you won’t see on this post because it’s not in the park.

We head northeast from downtown to visit our next park.