Veterans benefits 2020: Most popular state Veteran monuments
VA worked with state representatives to compile a list of the most popular state Veteran monuments, part of a five part series. Below is a list in alphabetical order.
“Alabama is a very patriotic state with Veterans representing more than 10% of the population. Most communities in Alabama have something honoring the service and sacrifice of those who have proudly served in America’s Armed Forces. The USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park located in Mobile, Alabama, is likely the most visited Veterans park. Each year more than 400,000 visitors tour the historic battleship USS Alabama, submarine USS Drum, and the Medal of Honor Aircraft Pavilion in celebration of the state’s Veterans – past and present.” – Bob Horton, assistant commissioner, Outreach and Engagement.
Veterans can learn more about the park at https://www.ussalabama.com/.
“Alaska’s best Veteran memorial is located in Denali State Park at mile 147.1 between Anchorage and Fairbanks. The memorial consists of five 20-foot tall concrete panels each panel representing our military services.” – Verdie Bowen Sr., director, Office of Veterans Affairs
Veterans can learn more about these monuments at http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/aspunits/matsu/akveteransmemorial.htm.
Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza, established in 1978 and located in the Governmental Mall directly across the street from the State Capitol building, is home to 34 monuments and memorials and includes 20 monuments and memorials honoring military service and sacrifice for this country. Wesley Bolin Plaza is a popular site visited by tourists, Arizona residents and school groups throughout the year and is designated as one of the Points of Pride in Phoenix locations by the City of Phoenix.” – Wanda Wright, director
Veterans can find a map of the plaza and list of memorials and monuments at https://gsd.az.gov/sites/default/files/CAPITOL%20MALL%20-%20Memorial%20Directory%2011×17.pdf.
“The state’s most popular Veterans monument is named for a famous Arkansas Veteran, Gen. Douglas MacArthur.” – Gina Chandler, assistant director, Veterans Services
For more information go to https://www.littlerock.gov/for-residents/parks-and-recreation/macarthur-museum-of-arkansas-military-history/.
“The California Mexican-American Veterans Memorial, known as El Soldado, is unique among the many memorials dedicated to war Veterans both in Sacramento’s Capitol Park and throughout the United States. The statue was established and funded by the mothers and wives of California’s Mexican-American soldiers who had fallen during WWII. Creating ‘La Sociedad de Madres’ (Society of Mothers) in 1948, these hard working women remained on task for many years, hosting fundraisers until they were able to raise enough money to buy the marble stone carved statue from Italy for $4,000. Originally placed in 1951, at what was once Sacramento’s Mexican-American Center, the statue was moved in the 1970s, then relocated again to its current location on the west side of California’s State’s Capitol in 1990.” – Xochitl Rodriguez-Murillo, deputy secretary, Minority and Underrespresented Veterans
Veterans can learn more about the memorial at https://www.calvet.ca.gov/MinorityVets/Pages/MAVMC-History.aspx.
“The Colorado Tribute to Veterans Monument is located in Lincoln Park between the State Capitol and Denver City and County Building.” – Richard J. Tremaine, director, Division of Veterans Affairs
Veterans can learn more at www.Colorado.Gov/Vets.
“Connecticut’s most popular state Veteran monument is the Connecticut State Veterans Memorial in Minuteman Park in the capital city of Hartford. This monument pays tribute to the men and women who served in all branches of the military during our nation’s history and is situated next to the Connecticut State National Guard Armory and the State Legislative Office building.” – Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Thomas J. Saadi
For more information including how to sponsor pavers honoring a Veteran, visit www.CTHonorsVets.org.
“Delaware’s most popular state Veteran monument is the Delaware Women Veterans Monument.” – Larence Kirby, executive director, Office of Veterans Services
To read more about the monument, see https://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/2018/11/03/monument-legislative-hall-pays-tribute-women-military/1871992002/.
“Florida’s Vietnam War Memorial, with its 28-by-15 foot U.S. flag, contains the names of all known Floridians killed in the war. The location is across Monroe Street from the Old Capitol Building in downtown Tallahassee.” – James S. “Hammer” Hartsell, deputy executive director, Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs
Veterans can learn more by visiting www.FloridaVets.org.
“More than 130,000 people visit the Andersonville National Historic Site per year. The Andersonville National Historic Site comprises three distinct components: the former site of Camp Sumter military prison, the Andersonville National Cemetery, and the National Prisoner of War Museum, which opened in 1998 to honor all U.S. prisoners of war in all wars. Visitors can view several monuments and memorial plaques dedicated to prisoners of war.” – Mike Roby, Georgia’s commissioner of Veterans Service
Veterans can learn more about the program at https://www.nps.gov/ande/index.htm.
“Hawaii’s most popular Veteran monument is the Pearl Harbor National Memorial which includes the USS Arizona Memorial, USS Missouri Battleship, the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park, and the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum.”- Ronald Han, Director State Office of Veterans’ Services
Veterans can learn more about all of these memorials at www.nps.gov/pearlharbor.
“The Idaho State Veterans Cemetery is the most popular Veterans monument in the state. Set against a backdrop of native grasses, green hills, and the rugged Boise Foothills, the 76.5-acre cemetery offers a peaceful place of solitude and beauty for friends and family members of those laid to rest here. The annual Memorial Day Service brings thousands of Idaho citizens and community leaders together at the cemetery to honor those Veterans who are gone but not forgotten.” – James Earp, Idaho State Veterans Cemetery Bureau chief
Veterans can learn more about the Idaho State Veterans Cemeteries at http://veterans.idaho.gov/Cemetery.
“Oak Ridge cemetery holds the most popular Veteran monuments. The most underused state benefit in Illinois is the reimbursement of Cartage and Erection fees for VA-supplied markers.” – Evan Fazio, public information officer, Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs
Illinois Veterans and their families can learn more about these programs at veterans.illinois.gov.
“The Soldiers and Sailors Monument located in the center of Indianapolis is easily the most popular state Veteran’s Monument. According to Downtown Indy, Inc., approximately 1.5 million visitors visit this monument annually.” – J. Stewart Goodwin, executive director, Indiana War Memorial
Veterans can learn more about the monument at https://www.in.gov/iwm/2335.htm.
The Iowa Veterans Cemetery is the first federally funded construction of a state-owned and operated Veterans cemetery in Iowa. The cemetery serves the Veteran population throughout the state and around the country, as there is no state residency requirement to be interred there.” – Karl J. Lettow, public information
Information about the Iowa Veterans Cemetery is at https://va.iowa.gov/cemetery.
“Kansas is proud to be the home of the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum located in Abilene. This is an opportunity to explore the extraordinary life and legacy of the only 5-star general who became President of the United States.” – Kansas Commission on Veterans Affairs Deputy Director Eric Rohleder
Find out more information at www.eisenhowerlibrary.gov.
“The Kentucky Vietnam Veteran Memorial in Frankfort was the first in the nation to use the sundial design, where each Veterans’ name is precisely engraved on the blue-gray granite so the shadow of the gnomon touches their name on the anniversary of their death. Although the design has since been copied in many states, people still travel here from all over the country to see the Kentucky Vietnam Veterans Memorial.” – Al Duncan, Cemeteries Branch manager
Kentucky Veterans can find out more about the memorial here.
“Our most popular state Veteran monument is the Louisiana Gold Star Families Memorial monument. Through a joint effort with Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, the Louisiana Gold Star Families Honoring Committee, the Hershel “Woody” Williams Medal of Honor Foundation and the National WWII Museum, this monument honors the families of Louisiana servicemen and women who sacrificed their lives while serving in the military. The monument is placed in the Louisiana Veterans Memorial Park on the grounds of the State Capitol.” – Joey Strickland, Secretary, Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs
“The most popular state Veteran monument the State of Maine has is our four state-operated Veteran cemeteries. We consistently receive high quality ratings for our state-run cemeteries by VA’s National Cemetery Administration, bringing us very close to the standards maintained at Arlington and other National Veteran Cemeteries. Our goal to maintain those standards is a testament to the bureau’s commitment to honoring our Veterans. The State of Maine operates four Veterans cemeteries in Caribou, Augusta (2), and Springvale.” – David Richmond, director, Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services
For more information about the memorial cemeteries,visit https://www.maine.gov/veterans/memorial-cemetery-system/index.html.
“The Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs manages four Veteran memorials and shares responsibility with Baltimore City Government for a fifth, the War Memorial Building. The department is honored to maintain memorials to those who served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, and to Gold Star Families. Dedicated in 1998, and sitting just above the Severn River in Annapolis, the popular Maryland World War II Memorial pays homage to the 6,628 Marylanders who gave their lives during the war.” – George Owings, secretary of the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs
Veterans can learn more about the Memorial Program at https://veterans.maryland.gov/cemetery-and-memorial-program.
For Massachusetts information, visit https://www.mass.gov/orgs/massachusetts-department-of-veterans-services.
“Identifying Michigan’s most popular Veteran monument is certainly a topic of debate. Nonetheless, a unique Veteran monument, amongst Michigan’s many, is the Upper Peninsula Veteran’s Memorial. The memorial sits atop Pine Mountain hill, one of–if not the–highest ski jumps in the world, in the town of Iron Mountain. The memorial honors the many Veterans of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula who have fought and died for our nation, as well as all Veterans that have given their lives for our country.” – Ryan Engle, Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency strategic partnership coordinator
A picture of the memorial is at http://ss.sites.mtu.edu/mhugl/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/JUmp-memorial.jpg.
“Throughout the state of Minnesota, there are numerous memorials, tributes and statues that honor Minnesota’s Veterans. There are several Veteran Memorials located at the State Capitol Complex in St. Paul, Minn. These include USS Ward Gun, The Sky Soldier, Minnesota Vietnam Memorial, Monument to the Living, Korean War Veterans Memorial, World War II Memorial and Court of Honor.” – Larry Herke, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs
To learn more, visit https://mn.gov/mdva/memorials/memorials/.
“We have many historic military monuments throughout the Magnolia State. One that I would encourage people to visit is the Persian Gulf War Memorial at the State Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Newton. The face of the monument displays individual eight and a half-inch square granite tiles bearing the image of each fallen hero of the Persian Gulf War. Along with the image are displayed the Veteran’s name, rank, hometown and dates of service.” – Stacey Pickering, executive director of Mississippi Veterans Affairs
For more information on Mississippi Veterans Affairs, visit www.msva.ms.gov.
“The National WWI Museum and Memorial is America’s leading institution dedicated to remembering, interpreting and understanding the Great War and its enduring impact on the global community. The Museum and Memorial fulfills its mission by:
- Maintaining the Liberty Memorial as a beacon of freedom and a symbol of the courage, patriotism, sacrifice, and honor of all who served in World War I.
- Interpreting the history of World War I to encourage public involvement and informed decision-making.
- Providing exhibitions and educational programs that engage diverse audiences.
- Collecting and preserving historical materials with the highest professional standards.” – Ryon Richmond, acting executive director, Missouri Veterans Commission
Veterans can learn more about the program at https://www.theworldwar.org/.
“Montana has a great number of Veteran monuments, but one of the most popular is the Montana Veterans Memorial in Great Falls, Montana.” – Kelly Ackerman, administrator, Montana Veterans Affairs Division
For more information, visit www.montanaveteransmemorial.org.
“Monuments and memorials to Veterans are common in Nebraska. Each community is proud of the recognition they give to those who served and sacrificed! The most popular would have to be Memorial Stadium of the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. It honors all Nebraskans who have served in our Nation’s wars. The stadium is inscribed ‘Their Lives they held their country’s trust; They kept its faith; They died its heroes.’
On game day, the stadium becomes the state’s third largest city with over 90,000 in attendance. In a state of 1.9 million people that is nearly 5% of the state’s population in one place! It has been sold out 375 straight games–an NCAA record that dates back to 1962.” – John Hilgert, Nebraska Department of Veterans Affairs director
Veterans can learn more about Memorial Stadium at https://youtu.be/1L4LW0Gsne8.
“The award-winning Battle Born Memorial in Carson City has 895 brass plates punched out to create shadow effects with the names of Nevada’s fallen warriors from the Civil War to present day. The Nevada State Veterans Memorial in Las Vegas is a two-acre memorial and park featuring 18 larger-than-life statues, depicting soldiers from the Revolutionary War to the Global War on Terror, and a special statue honoring military families.” – Julie Dudley, communications director
Veterans can learn more about these memorials at https://veterans.nv.gov/benefits-and-services/nevada-veteran-memorials/.
“Our State Veteran’s Cemetery’s Memorial Walkway and Monuments are extremely popular to those that visit the cemetery.” – William Gaudreau, director, NH Division of Veteran Services
Veterans can learn more about benefits at www.nh.gov/nhveterans.
The New Jersey Korean War Memorial was created to ensure that future generations remember and honor the pride and dedication of those who served, the legacy they continued, and the freedom they preserved. The memorial was dedicated on Nov. 13, 2000, and stands where Park Place meets the Boardwalk on land donated by Atlantic City. Governor Christine Todd Whitman attended the dedication ceremony and laid the wreath honoring the 191,000 New Jerseyans who served in the conflict.” – Patricia A. Richter, acting director, Division of Veterans Services
More information is at https://www.nj.gov/military/community/civic-engagement/war-memorials/korean-war-memorial.shtml.
The most popular stave Veteran monument, according to DVS, is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Angel Fire. DVS assumed management of the Memorial in 2017 from the state parks division. It was built by the parents of Marine 1st Lt. David Westphall of Albuquerque. The Westphalls wanted to honor their son, who was among sixteen Marines killed in an ambush on their unit on May 22, 1968 in Vietnam. It was the first Vietnam War memorial in the nation when it opened in 1971.
The Westphalls also wanted the Memorial to honor all Americans who served during the war—in particular, the 58,000 Americans who lost their lives during the war. It received nationwide attention and is credited for inspiring the creation of the national Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. in 1982. According to DVS, 61,000 people from across the globe visited the Memorial in 2019.
Veterans can learn more about the Memorial by contacting the DVS Cemetery & Monuments Program Bureau at (505) 827-6256 or [email protected].
“The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor in New Windsor, New York.” – Joel Evans, executive deputy director, New York State Division of Veterans’ Services
According to the hall’s website, “The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor offers visitors an incredible journey through military history as well as reminders of human sacrifice and the cost of freedom.”
Veterans can learn more at https://www.thepurpleheart.com/.
“The most popular North Carolina state Veteran monuments are the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Veterans Monument at the state capitol in Raleigh.”
Veterans can learn more about the memorials at https://www.ncdcr.gov/blog/2014/05/23/vietnam-monument-at-state-capitol-dedicated-1987. Veterans can learn more about the North Carolina Veteran programs at www.milvets.nc.gov.
“The most popular state Veteran monument is the All Veterans Memorial located on the North Dakota state capitol grounds.” – Lonnie Wangen, commissioner
Veterans can learn more at https://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM9GE0_All_Veterans_Memorial_State_Capitol_Grounds_Bismarck_ND_USA.
“The Ohio Veterans Plaza at the Ohio Statehouse, a large plaza regularly used for both public and private events. It’s flanked by two walls of Ohio limestone, each inscribed with passages from letters home written by Ohioans who served in combat during wartime.” – Sean McCarthy, assistant director, Department of Veterans Services
A comprehensive Ohio Veterans Resource Guide is available online at https://dvs.ohio.gov/wps/wcm/connect/gov/7c2ff73e-7a10-42a9-b2c1-4688be28837c/BenefitsGuide.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CVID=n8kF7Cb.
For Oklahoma information, visit https://odva.ok.gov/.
“On the state capitol grounds in Salem, a 33-foot obelisk watches over two large granite walls containing inscriptions of more than 3,700 names of Oregon WWII service members who were killed or are still missing in action. The Oregon WWII Memorial was dedicated on D-Day 2014 where an estimated 2,500 people gathered to honor our state’s greatest generation, both those who served on the front lines and home front.” – Kelly Fitzpatrick, Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs director
Oregon Veterans can learn more about where to find veteran memorials in Oregon at https://www.oregon.gov/odva/Services/Pages/VeteranMemorials.aspx.
“Pennsylvania’s most popular state Veteran monument is the Pennsylvania Veterans’ Memorial located at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery in Annville, Pennsylvania. This tribute to America’s heroes is the largest Veterans’ memorial located in any of the national cemeteries operated by VA. It is proudly maintained by the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and is the first in the commonwealth to honor Veterans of all eras from the Revolutionary War forward.” – Air Force Maj. Gen. Anthony Carrelli, Pennsylvania’s adjutant general and head of the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs
Learn more about the Pennsylvania Veterans’ Memorial at dmva.pa.gov.
“The most popular state Veteran monument under construction is The Rhode Island Nine Beirut Memorial honoring the nine Marines from Rhode Island that died as a result of the Beirut Bombings. Under development is a Gold Star Family Memorial. Our most popular is the World War II Memorial at our Veterans Memorial Cemetery. Of note, we have over 19 monuments across the full spectrum of organizations at our cemetery.” – Kasim Yarn, director, Rhode Island Office of Veterans Services
Veterans can learn more at http://www.vets.ri.gov/.
“One of the most popular Veteran monuments in the State of South Carolina is the Vietnam Memorial at Memorial Park.
The largest monument of its type outside of Washington, D.C., stands here as a memorial to 980 South Carolinians who died in Vietnam. The park also features a new Holocaust monument. Designed by renowned sculptor Irwin Hyman, the monument stands on a granite Star of David and features the names of Holocaust liberators and survivors of South Carolina engraved on its granite walls. The memorial includes a map of the death camps across Europe and a chronology of World War II, and it has a Korean War Memorial.” – Brandon C. Wilson, public information director
For more information, go to https://discoversouthcarolina.com/products/823.
South Dakota’s State Capitol Campus is home to seven Veterans Memorials. This site allows thousands of travelers/tourists to view the memorials as they travel through the state.
“South Dakota has a legacy of supporting those who have sacrificed and served our country. We are proud of this history and the partners that have shared in our success.” – Greg Whitlock, Secretary of the South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs
Whitlock said Veterans should contact their local county or tribal Veterans service officers or the South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs office (605-773-3269) to learn more about their benefits. Veterans can also visit https://vetaffairs.sd.gov/ or https://www.facebook.com/SDDVA/.
The East Tennessee Veterans Memorial in Knoxville’s World’s Fair Park bears the names of more than 6,200 Veterans from 35 East Tennessee counties who have died in military service since the beginning of World War I. Those counties are those that comprise the eastern grand division of the state plus Fentress and Sequatchie counties on the Cumberland Plateau.
“The ground of the Texas Capitol in Austin, Texas, contain several significant Veterans monuments, including the groundbreaking Vietnam Veterans Monument. This memorial was designed by New Mexico artist Duke Sundt and serves as a tribute to all Texans who served in the Vietnam War–a memorial to the 3,417 who died.” – Mike Hernandez, commissioner of the Texas Veterans Commission
Veterans can learn about all the monuments at https://tspb.texas.gov/prop/tcg/tcg-monuments/index.html.
“Memory Grove in Salt Lake City continues to be one of the most visited areas in the state to view Veterans and military memorials. There are monuments honoring those who served during various military conflicts to include World War I, Korean War, chapel for World War II. The state’s Vietnam War Memorial is just up the hill by the Utah State Capitol. There are memorials across our great state in communities small and large. Utah is a very patriotic state whose people always honor those who wear and wore our nation’s uniform.” – Gary Harter, executive director of Utah’s Department of Veterans and Military Affairs
Additional information is at https://www.visitsaltlake.com/listing/memory-grove-park/55148/.
“The most popular state Veteran monument is Vermont Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial at the Sharon Rest Stop on Route 89 North, just before exit 2.” – Robert E. Burke, director, Office of Veterans Affairs
For more information visit veterans.vermont.gov.
“The most popular state Veteran monument in Virginia is the Virginia War Memorial. This is the Commonwealth of Virginia’s memorial to the nearly 12,000 Virginia heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice from World War I through today. The memorial’s mission is to ‘Honor Veterans, Preserve History, Educate Youth and Inspire Patriotism in All.’” – Clay Mountcastle, director of the Virginia War Memorial
Veterans can learn about all of the above mentioned programs in Virginia by visiting www.dvs.virginia.gov.
“Washington State’s Capitol Campus includes memorials for WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, POW/MIA and Congressional Medal of Honor Recipients. It receives thousands of visitors each year who visit each memorial to honor Veterans and their families.” – Liza Narciso, assistant to the director, Washington Department of Veterans Affairs
For more information, visit http://leg.wa.gov/Memorials/Pages/default.aspx.
“The West Virginia War Memorial located on the capitol grounds is our most popular monument.” – Cabinet Secretary Dennis Davis
Veterans can learn more at https://veterans.wv.gov/Pages/default.aspx.
“For more than 100 years, the Wisconsin Veterans Museum has connected the past to the present by sharing the stories of Wisconsin’s military Veterans. The museum and research center is committed to honoring the brave men and women of Wisconsin’s military Veterans and their role in shaping our nation’s history through unique collections, award-winning exhibits and educational programs. What we have here is truly a national treasure.” – Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs Mary Kolar
Visit the Wisconsin Veterans Museum website at https://wisvetsmuseum.com/.
“The most popular state Veteran monument is War Memorial Stadium at the University of Wyoming, Laramie, home of the Cowboys.” – Tim Sheppard, executive director, Wyoming Veterans Commission
Veterans Memorial Plaza at War Memorial Stadium honors all Wyoming Veterans who have served and died since the Spanish-American War to the present. In 2015, UW Athletics Director Tom Burman asked a group of military Veterans to locate and design the relocation of the Veterans Memorial Plaza.
Veterans can learn more at https://www.wyomilitary.wyo.gov/veterans/commission/.
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