PHOENIX (June 22, 2012) –The first known memorial dedicated to Native American Veterans who served in any American war is under construction at the nationally acclaimed Heard Museum following a groundbreaking ceremony punctuated with tribal traditions and attended by American Indian Veterans of all ages.
The American Indian Veterans National Memorial is anticipated to be a major attraction for the Heard Museum when completed in November 2012. The project spans more than 30 yards, and will feature the last monumental sculpture created by well-known sculptor Allan Houser (Chiricahua Apache, 1914-1994), on long-term loan from the New Mexico-based Houser Foundation.
“We believe there will be people traveling to Phoenix just to visit this site, dedicated to those who volunteered to serve in our country in greater proportion than any other population,” said Heard Museum President and CEO Dr. Letitia Chambers.
The project is funded by TriWest Healthcare Alliance. Kitchell is building the memorial, one in a long line of projects the company has overseen for the Museum. Design is by John Douglas Architects.
The groundbreaking ceremony featured posting of colors by the Ira Hayes Post #84, part of the Gila River Indian Community, the Fort McDowell Color Guard, a blessing by Navajo Freddie Johnson and an honor song by the Fort McDowell Singers. In addition to Chambers, speakers included Heard Museum Board Trustee Patti Hibbeler, TriWest Healthcare Alliance CEO David McIntyre and a heartfelt testimonial by Dr. George Blue Spruce, a Heard Museum Board Trustee who served in the Korean War.
“This will be an educational exhibit for all populations, held in the highest esteem with gratitude and pride by all segments of our population,” Spruce said.