The Anchorage Park Foundation partnered with the Veterans Committee to raise funds to revitalize the Veterans’ Memorial on the Delaney Park Strip.
The 26-year old memorial was in need of a major renovation, including access for the disabled, concrete rehabilitation, vandal-proofing, plant and landscaping work, a lighting system, expanded water service, public event accessories, and other enhanced design features.
The Municipality of Anchorage, State of Alaska, Rasmuson Foundation, Alaska USA FCU, the late Ms. Mary Louise Rasmuson, and the Atwood Foundation all provided significant funding. Veterans’ groups, business and industry, labor organizations, fraternal groups, local foundations, and other institutions and individuals participated in funding this project.
The essential theme and physical attributes of the present memorial remain intact: A quiet, reflective setting surrounding the flagpole, which contains bronze panels honoring those Alaskan citizens lost in war, including WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, the Gulf War, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The WWII soldier remains, as does the monument to Purple Heart recipients. The iconic Fallen Warrior statue was added during reconstruction, as well as two sculptured screen panels.
This memorial is our community’s central recognition venue for the service and sacrifice of so many of our citizens. In addition to honoring veterans, contributions reinforce the tradition and exceptional stature Anchorage holds in support of the active military, veterans, and their families. In a period when Alaskan citizens fought in global combat theaters and became casualties, the Veterans Committee was determined to bring the memorial up to the standards which justify their sacrifices.
“Given…by the Great Land” is the selected Artwork Design for the Veteran’s Memorial. These are solemn artworks that flank the USA flagpole and the memorials to the Alaskan military who have given the ultimate sacrifice in their service to the country.
The North Panel entitled “Reflections on the Great One” will be 8 feet high by 20 feet long. It will be constructed with stainless steel, aluminum and granite with stainless steel mesh and bronze elements. The sculpture is meant to be viewed and touched from all sides and will be subtly lighted with 13 lights. The 13 panels of mesh and granite create an abstracted view of the iconic image of Denali “The Great One”. Sculpted in bronze, an Honor Guard’s arms release an eagle that flies toward the summit. The symbolic elements in the sculpture include:
- Honor Guard and Eagle Release – the soul of the Veteran flies to the summit of Denali
- Mountain showing the strength of Alaska Veterans
- 13 vertical columns representing the stripes of Old Glory
- Missing spaces for the lives Given by the Great Land POW/MIA
- Mesh is the strong fabric of our military men and women
The POW/MIA flag flies over this sculptural panel.
South Panel entitled “O’er Land and Sea a Beacon Bright“ shows an abstracted ocean vista constructed of granite slabs with linear cliff forms on the mesh. In the center, the beckoning Big Dipper stars, the Honor Guard Bugler, and the Presentation Flag provide realistic touchstones to this monumental artwork. The symbolic elements in the sculpture include:
- Folded Presentation Flag for the Fallen Warrior
- Bugler plays the 24 notes of TAPS
- Eight stars of Gold for the Big Dipper in the Alaska Flag and the Gold Stars Moms
- North Star is the guiding light that brings the fallen back home
- Mesh is the strong fabric of the military in our state and country and is a place to leave reminders for family and comrades.
The Alaska State flag flies over this sculptural panel.
Artists team of Shala Dobson and Jim Dault
Photo credit: Daryl Pederson