Ward 5 Council Member Richard Fimbres and the City of Tucson would like to invite you to attend the unveiling of the World War II Memorial downtown at Armory Park, 221 S. Sixth Avenue. Arrival and seating for the dedication will take place at 9 a.m. and the ceremony will commence promptly at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, November 1, 2013. This memorial, designed by artists Lauri Slenning and Rebecca Thompson, honors and recognizes Tucson veterans who served and gave their lives for their country. Immediately following the dedication there will be a reception held in the Armory Center Ballroom.
William E. Bigglestone’s book, “Tucsonans Who Died in Military Service During World War II”, formed a core list for research using Tucson City Directories, National Archives WWII records, the National WWII Memorial Registry, Arizona birth certificates, ancestry.com, military service burial records, and documents obtained through Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office.
“I am excited that the World War II Memorial will be completed and the dedication ceremony will be taking place, said Ward 5 Council Member Richard Fimbres. “This will complete an eight-and-a-half year project and fulfill the dreams set out by the late Gilbert Quintanilla, a World War II veteran and Connie Harris, his wife. After their passing, this effort was continued by their daughters, Mary Quintanilla Sample and Kellianne Harris-Candelaria.
“I want to thank everyone who has been involved with this project, for which close to 400 Tucsonans, who died serving our country in World War II from Tucson and Pima County will be honored with their names on the Memorial, Councilmember Fimbres continued. I also want to especially thank Melinda Jacobs from the Ward 5 office, who oversaw this effort, the gathering and researching of the names and the tracking of the funds raised and received.”
This project was spearheaded in 2005 by the now deceased Tucsonans Connie Lujan Harris and her husband Gilbert Quintanilla, a World War II veteran and family members.
Funding came from then Ward 5 Council member Steve Leals Back to Basics Budget of $100,000; Governor Janet Napolitano and the Arizona Legislature, earmarked a matching $100,000 from the State of Arizona Budget, done through legislation sponsored by then Representative Phil Lopes and others, and $19,570 from donations raised by Mr. Quintanilla and many community organizations.
Over 25 Veterans organizations have supported this project, including former Governor Janet Napolitano, the Arizona State Legislature, the Pima County Board of Supervisors, and the City of Tucson Mayor and Council.
Ward 5 Councilmmeber Richard Fimbres is a Vietnam veteran of the U.S. Army, having served as “a military policeman, patrol and dog handler”. He is running for re-election in Ward 5 for the Tucson City Council, after being first elected in Nov. 2009.
One of my uncles and a cousin served in the famous all Japanese-American 442nd Regimental Combat Team during WWII. My cousin was wounded and lost his right arm during a battle in Italy in that war. My uncle Masao is still alive but prefers not to speak about that war, where he served as a medic. Let us honor those who served and died in WWII.