YUMA, Ariz. – The Yuma Armed Forces Memorial Park has been selected by the 100 Cities/100 Memorials program to receive official national designation as a World War I Centennial Memorial.
The City of Yuma and the Yuma County Chamber of Commerce’s Military Affairs Committee will receive a $2,000 matching grant for the restoration, maintenance and conservation of the Yuma Armed Forces Memorial Park, 291 S. Gila St. The Park honors military veterans living and deceased, including all military branches of service.
The one-acre park is located on the site of a former railroad and includes more than 2,600 granite plaques honoring living and deceased military veterans from all military branches. About 260 of these granite plaques honor World War I veterans.
Each plaque has an individual engraving of a veteran’s name, rank, dates of service, and his/her service emblem. It was constructed in 2000 by local business owners, the Chamber of Commerce, service organizations and community members. Community volunteers participated in its design, construction, funding and upkeep since inception.
"The Park is certainly a point of pride, and this award truly exemplifies Yuma’s support of our military. We are so grateful for the designation," said Executive Director of the Yuma County Chamber of Commerce John Courtis. The Chamber manages the park in partnership with the City of Yuma.
The 100 Cities/100 Memorials program is sponsored by the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission and the Pritzker Military Museum and Library. The program aims to draw attention to WWI memorials across the U.S., and enables all of America to take part in the WWI centennial commemoration.
The Yuma Armed Forces Memorial Park Protection and Restoration Project plans to utilize the grant funding for needed security enhancements to help protect the Armed Forces Park from vandalism and misuse. Additionally, the funding will help restore and maintain the memorial park sign.
“I am impressed by the community involvement that has sprung from this project,” noted Executive Director of the U.S. WWI Centennial Commission Dan Dayton. “By focusing on restoring these community treasures, local cities, veterans groups, historical society and citizens have come together to remember the community’s heritage — and that was really a key goal of the program."
Armed Forces Park will receive a bronze medallion officially designating it as a WWI Centennial Remembrance Memorial during a national press conference on Nov. 11, 2018, the date of the national commemoration of the WWI armistice.
A local event is being planned to honor the designation and award.