Wichita's Veterans' Memorial Park
Located on the bank of the Arkansas River, the Veterans Memorial Park offers a quiet, peaceful place for visitors to honor and remember those who have served our country. The park features six distinctly separate memorials, each with a different dedication.
Military Order of the Purple Heart Memorial
The purple heart is a decoration given to those who have been injured while serving in the U.S. military. According to its inscription, this memorial is dedicated to all of the men and women who have been wounded in all of our wars.
The memorial depicts the seal of each branch of the military, as well as the purple heart medal. Its inscription reads:
“My stone is red for the blood they shed. The medal I bear is my country’s way to show they care. If I could be seen by all mankind, maybe peace will come on my lifetime.”
The memorial was erected by Richard E. Cowan Chapter #558 Military Order of the Purple Heart.
American Gold Star Mothers Memorial
Sponsored by the American Gold Star Mothers, this memorial is dedicated to mothers whose sons and daughters served and died in the line of duty in the Armed Forces of our country or its Allies. It reads:
Out of tragedy we were formed
Out of love we continue
Representing the noble principles for which
They fought and died.”
On the back of the memorial, it reads:
"Perpetuating the noble principles for which they fought and died."
Gold Star Families Memorial
Sponsored by Gold Star Families, this memorial honors the families of those who have served and died in the line of duty in the Armed Forces of our country or its Allies.
A bench at the head of the memorial is inscribed: “You will never be forgotten”. In front of the bench, on the left side are the names of U.S. Veterans, the branches in which they served, and the wars in which they fought. On the right is an inscription entitled “Freedom Is Not Free”.
The park is also home to a memorial for those who have been taken as prisoners of war (POW) and those who have been classified as missing in action (MIA).
Kansas Korean War Memorial
This Memorial is a tribute to Kansans who were involved in the Korean War. Their sacrifices and heroic acts will not be forgotten. Its inscription reads:
“This Memorial is dedicated as a lasting tribute to all the service men and women of the United States Armed Forces from the state of Kansas and in memory of those who made the supreme sacrifice with their lives on the battlefields of North and South Korea, so that the Republic of South Korea shall remain free.”
The memorial has multiple sides, with a dedication and inscription on each side. One side bears the above inscription, a memorial of all Kansans involved in the war. Other dedications are as follows: the POW-MIA, U.S. Marine Corps, United States Air Force, and United States Navy.
The memorial is topped by the Kneeling Soldier, a sculpture that was donated by Grant Davis of Davis-Moore Auto Group, Forrest C. Lattner Foundation, Arnold J. Tye, Chris Shults family, Robert D. and Myrna C. Pinkstaff.
U.S. Merchant Marine Memorial and U.S. Navy Armed Guard Memorial
Honoring the crews and ships who carried our troops, gas, ammunition, oil, bombs and other necessities to the front lines during World War II, this memorial was dedicated in 1996.
According to the inscription, 866 ships sank or were damaged, 609 crewman were taken as P.O.W., and 54 of them died in prison camps.
The U.S. Navy Armed Guard Memorial resembles an anchor, and reads:
"They that go down to the sea in ships
That do business in great waters,
These see the works of the Lord,
And his wonders in the deep."
U.S. Navy Submarine Service Memorial
The Kansas chapter of the U.S. Submarine Veterans of World War II sponsored this memorial project.
Dedicated in 1984, the memorial resembles the large MK-14 Submarine Torpedo.
Though this torpedo was developed with a small budget, the MK-14 was responsible for the destruction of more than four million tons of Japanese shipping in WWII.
In the early years of its use, it was inaccurate and failed to explode on impact. Further development led it to become a very reliable weapon.
Marine Corps League Memorial
The Air Capital Detachment of the U.S. Marine Corps League sponsored this memorial, which bears the seal of the United States Marine Corps and reads “Semper Fidelis.” The memorial was dedicated in 1995.
U.S. Navy Hospital Corps Memorial
This memorial serves to honor the Fleet Marine Force corpsmen; The Navy medical personnel who accompany the U.S. Marines into battle.
SS Dorado Memorial
The SS Dorado was a submarine that was launched during WWII. The submarine, carrying 52 men, vanished on Oct. 12, 1943, en route to Panama from New London, Connecticut. This memorial stands to honor the 52 men aboard the submarine that lost their lives. The names of these men are inscribed on the memorial.
Pearl Harbor Survivors Association Memorial
The Pearl Harbor Survivors Association Memorial, which reads “Lest we forget” honors World War II’s battle at Pearl Harbor. Members of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association are listed on the back of the memorial.
Vietnam War Memorial
The park’s Vietnam War memorial was dedicated in 1994. It stands to honor men of Sedgwick County who were killed or went missing in the Vietnam War. The names of these men are inscribed on the memorial.
Sponsored by the homefront memorial committee, this memorial reads: “Dedicated to those lives affected by Vietnam". It depicts a wounded soldier being supported by two men holding him up on each side and a family holding a folded flag, which is traditionally given to the next-of-kin after a military funeral.
USS Wichita Memorial
The U.S.S. Wichita was a World War II heavy cruiser, and the last “treaty cruiser” according to the memorial’s inscription.
After the atomic bombing of the Japanese city of Nagasaki, the U.S.S. Wichita was sent to Japan with a mission of liberating prisoners of war.
The cruiser was commissioned in 1939 and decommissioned in 1947. During that time, it was awarded 13 Battle Stars for its service.
Though the memorial looks similar to the other segments of stone walls that line the Arkansas River, a stone structure at the top suggests the shape of a large boat: the U.S.S. Wichita.
World War II Memorial
Dedicated to all World War II veterans in the Wichita area, this memorial features bricks engraved with the name, branch of service, theater of operation, and dates of service.
The park is located at 339 N. Greenway Blvd., on a small parcel of land that the City of Wichita conveyed to the Park Board of Commissioners in 1980. It was designated as both Park Plaza “A” and John. S. Stevens Veterans Memorial before it was officially named Veterans Memorial Park. In addition to memorials, the park features access to the Arkansas River Bicycle Path and the downtown bikeway.