Our country was forever changed on Sept. 11, 2001. The pain, tragedy, and loss from this fateful day eventually spurred an idea that would pay tribute to the men and women who fought for our nation’s freedoms. Several Arizona residents banned together in 2015 with an idea for a ‘living memorial’ that would honor individuals who fought for our nation’s freedoms before, during, and after 9/11. Such a place for remembrance and gatherings has shown to be important to the residents of our state. The Arizona Heroes Memorial pays tribute to those who served, those who sacrificed, and those who continue to work preserving our liberty, freedom, and safety.
Richard Eggerding, a Korean War veteran, spearheaded this idea, uniting donors, sponsors, and Board members. Following years of planning and work with the town of Oro Valley, along with a ‘forced pause’ due to the global pandemic, the Arizona Heroes Memorial is now quickly becoming a reality. The town allocated 2.5 acres of land overlooking the Catalina Mountains in Naranja Park. Flags will fly representing the United States, Arizona, and POW/MIAs. All military branches, first responders, healthcare workers, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and public health will be recognized by individual 8-foot high walls. A 24-foot obelisk, mounted on a 90-foot star, symbolizes the services’ and organizations’ commitments and sacrifices. A 90-foot wide, three-tiered education amphitheater, donor pavers on the ‘Pathway to Heroes,’ and other landscaping enhance this tribute. The Arizona Heroes Memorial will be a place for reflection, as well as educational and statewide activities to foster remembrance of those who protect us, while learning about the sacrifices and contributions of our heroes and their families.
Building commenced on Sept. 11, 2023, facilitating renewed excitement on an otherwise somber day. Spencer Construction, our premier sponsor and general contractor, began clearing and excavating the site. In subsequent months, the WLB Group, Schneider Structural Engineers, and Parsons Steel will work together to complete Richard’s idea that honors our heroes. Fundraising efforts continue, as the Memorial’s needs for future educational, community-, and state-wide activities are vast. This site is now becoming a reality, despite many obstacles through the years. But, then again, isn’t this fortitude how our great nation was founded and maintained? Please stay tuned for more exciting news!
Please visit our website at www.azheroesmemorial.org. If you’d like to donate, volunteer, or visit the site in Naranja Park, our website will guide you. Legacy opportunities are still available. Robson Publications will generously allow the Arizona Heroes Memorial to keep readers updated on the Memorial’s building progress and future plans.