Irving Veterans' Memorial Park

Memorial Honors Local Veterans

The second phase of Irving Veterans' Memorial Park, which honors local veterans who have served this country, has been completed. More than 500 people attended a dedication ceremony that was held in May 2009 where U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison served as keynote speaker.

Large bronze statues of veteran soldiers are located at the entrance to the main plaza. The park features commemorative walls describing the various military branches and locations of wars fought by past veterans. Other features include a Fountain of Hope, River of Freedom, World Map of Confrontation, and Commemorative Wall of Contemplation.

Irving Veterans' Memorial Park is located at 644 Rock Island Road, adjacent to the Irving Central Library. The first phase of the park was completed in 2004. The $3 million expansion was funded with bond funds approved by voters in 2006.

Irving Veterans   Irving and The Vietnam War
   
 Irving and The World War I  Irving and The Korean War
   
 Irving and The World War II  Irving and Post-Vietnam Wars
   
   Resources

Veterans Memorial Park Sketch

Veterans Memorial Park Flags


Veterans Memorial Park Fountains





 

History

Bob Romano, a former councilman, presented a vision for an Irving veterans’ memorial to the City Council in 1998. Mayor Morris Parrish asked Mr. Romano to appoint and chair a committee to oversee the project. The original Irving Veterans' Memorial Park Committee consisted of Mr. Romano; Bob Moffatt, secretary; Thomas Prague, treasurer; and members Louise Anderson, Douglass Bales, Ann Danford, John Danish, Jack Gray, Scott Hannah, Tally Parker and Shel Stern.

The City Council authorized the committee to use two acres of land adjacent to the Central Library for the memorial. To finance the first phase of construction and increase public awareness of the project, committee members sold commemorative clay bricks. In addition, Mayor Joe Putnam and the City Council agreed to provide $140,000 for the construction of Phase I.

Work began on Phase I early 2004. Many contractors donated their efforts and helped bring the project in under budget. The main feature in Phase I was the curved Wall of Commemoration. The wall’s large plaques contain the names of Irving residents who died while in service to their country. Additional features in Phase I include the Plaza of Flags representing the United States, State of Texas, City of Irving, and the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard and POW-MIA. The Walk of Honor was created by placing commemorative engraved clay bricks in the sidewalk. The first phase of the memorial was dedicated May 23, 2004.

In the summer of 2004, John Danish became chairman of the Veterans' Memorial Park Committee, and Ann Danford was named secretary. In 2006, Mayor Herbert A. Gears and the City Council included funding for the expansion of the memorial in a citywide bond election. Irving voters approved issuing $3 million in general obligation bonds to complete the Irving Veterans' Memorial Park. Features included in the expansion were the Pool of Hope, the Perpetual River of Freedom, and the Plaza of the World, which includes bronze medallions marking areas of major U.S. military conflict. Engraved granite memorial blocks purchased by donors are on battlement walls throughout the grounds. The completed memorial park was dedication on May 17, 2009. On the day of the dedication, a time capsule was sealed in this wall. The capsule is to be opened on Memorial Day, 2109.
 

Irving Veterans

Honoring citizens of Irving who gave their lives in service to our country

World War I Era

PFC Earl G. Conaway ARMY CPL Noah R. Story ARMY
           

World War II Era

PVT Glen W. Austin ARMY TM3c Austin P. Jeter NAVY
1st LT Robert M. Barren ARMY MM1c Morgan R. Lyon USNR
PFC Charles F. Barton ARMY SSGT Joseph H. Mathis ARMY
1ST LT Frank N. Broach, Jr. ARMY PVT Kenneth McLemore ARMY
SGT James B. Candy ARMY AVC Warren M. Mozley, Jr. ARMY
2nd LT Bobbie C. Canon ARMY 2nd LT Durward L. Oilar ARMY
PVT Marvin A. Carlisle ARMY CPL Garland H. Palmar ARMY
PFC L. Glenn Collett USMCR 1st LT Glen W. Paradise ARMY
1st LT W. Fred Cox ARMY PVT Vernon D. Paradise ARMY
GM3c Ernest B. Cribbs USNR SN1c Albert F. Sain USNR
2nd LT Harry C. Crump, Jr. ARMY PVT Thomas H. Schmitt ARMY
CPT Walter P. Crump ARMY 1st LT Gerald Scott ARMY
1st LT Harold C. Donaldson ARMY 1st LT John W. Simmons, Jr. ARMY
PVT William W. Doss ARMY PVT Milton Strong ARMY
FN1c Lenox B. Drake, Jr. NAVY SSGT Alton Walker ARMY
PFC William C. Gresham ARMY SGT Virgil D. Walker ARMY
TSGT William H. Harris ARMY      
           

Korean War

CPL Robert A. Churchill USMC SN Louis C. Stark, Jr. NAVY
           

Vietnam War Era

PVT Michael P. Aaron USMC PFC Jerry W. Jenkins ARMY
SGT Paul H. Abraham ARMY WO Stephen L. Lane ARMY
SP4 John S. Alling, Jr. ARMY ENS Edward J. LaTour NAVY
PFC Robert L. Bone ARMY SP6 Paul B. McKinney ARMY
PFC Robert O. Buckner, Jr. ARMY GMG3 Herman A. Miller II NAVY
PFC William M. Cain USMC SGT Thomas G. Modisette ARMY
CPL C. Don Champion ARMY SP4 Walter L. Moore ARMY
PVT Gary G. Currier ARMY SP4 Jorge L. Nieves ARMY
SSGT Wilhelm K. Dammer ARMY MSGT Charles A. Paradise USAF
PFC Roger D. Davenport ARMY CPT Dennis M. Philips ARMY
PFC Joe R. Dominguez USMC LCPL Don M. Robertson USMC
PFC Carl W. Dorries USMC PFC Robert T. Russell II ARMY
PFC Martin W. Droigk USMC AA Larry D. Schumacher ARMY
PFC Jerry L. Ervin ARMY CPL Varde W. Smith II USMC
CPT Terry A. Hale ARMY SP4 Tommy D. Walker ARMY
PFC Clarence L. Harlow ARMY A1C Arlon D. Wall, Jr. USAF
PFC Ivan D. Homsley ARMY PFC Steven A. Wessel ARMY
SN Roger R. Jacks USCG MAJ Albert D. Wester USAF
SP4 Don Jenkins ARMY      
           

Post-Vietnam Era

SPC J. Adan Garcia ARMY LCPL Nazario Serrano USMC
COL Linda D. Green ARMY SPC Josiah H. Vandertulip ARMY
SGT Paul T. Sanchez ARMY CPT M. Ardell Ward, Jr. USAF
           
The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose...is the path of surrender, or submission.
          -President John F. Kennedy
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Irving and World War I   

Irving and World War I

World War I began in Europe in August 1914. The Central Powers, including Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Turkey, fought the Entente Powers, which included France, the United Kingdom, Italy, and, for a time, Russia. Over three years, the factions battled to a bloody stalemate in Europe. The United States joined the Entente in April 1917. American forces helped tip the scales in favor of the Entente. Germany, the last of the Central Powers to lay down its arms, signed an armistice on November 11, 1918.

At the time of World War I, the United States was a rural country where most people were born and reared on farms and rarely traveled far from home. When the U.S. entered the war, young men and women from across the country left their homes and went into military service. The conflict exposed much of rural America, and especially the military personnel, to the cruel vagaries of war and to the cultures and ideas of the world beyond their small communities.

The town of Irving, Texas, was a reflection of rural American life at the time. Founded in 1903, Irving was a trading center for the farmers and ranchers of northwest Dallas County. Many area residents lived on small farms and raised fruit and vegetables that they sold at the market in Dallas. Irving’s entire business district spanned two short blocks along unpaved Main Street and consisted of a brick bank, a few general stores, and two drug stores.

In 1914, Irving was still a tiny farm town with dirt streets; and in 1917 had a population of fewer than 500. Although the great conflict was half a world away, it soon became a very real part of the lives of Irving’s residents.

An estimated 20 million people died in what was then called “The Great War.” Of those, about 117,000 were members of the U.S. military. Two young men from Irving lost their lives in the war.
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Irving and World War II
 
 

Irving and World War II

During the 1930s and early 1940s, militarism was on the march in Asia and Europe. Japan invaded China in 1937. The next year in Europe, Germany annexed Austria and Czechoslovakia. After Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, France and the United Kingdom declared war on Germany. Japan’s attack on the United States’ naval base at Pearl Harbor in the Hawaiian Islands on December 7, 1941, brought the U.S. into the conflict against the Axis powers led by Germany, Japan and Italy. In a war that raged around the globe, the Allied Powers, led by the United States, the United Kingdom, and the U.S.S.R., fought to halt the expansion of the Axis Powers. After years of brutal struggle, the Allies emerged victorious in Europe in May 1945 and in Asia and the Pacific in August 1945.

Sixteen million Americans served in the armed forces during World War II. Thousands were from Dallas County and many from the small town of Irving. Lives abruptly changed as young men and women left their peacetime pursuits and trained to deploy around the world as pilots, sailors, nurses, infantrymen, and code breakers, among many other duties. Over 70 million people worldwide lost their lives during the war; about 400,000 were American. Thirty-three Irvingites made the supreme sacrifice while serving in the military during World War II.

In the two decades between the end of World War I and the U.S. entry into World War II, the town of Irving remained a small farming community. In 1940, Irving’s population was 1,089. The town supported one elementary school, a high school, and a few businesses along Main Street. While farming was still prevalent, the war years brought lifestyle changes to many residents as they took jobs in war-related industries located nearby.

After the war, many young veterans, now with experience beyond their years, returned to Irving or moved here and provided steady leadership as the small town expanded rapidly over the next decades.
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Irving and The Korean War
 
 

Irving and The Korean War

Only five years after the end of World War II, trouble in Korea abruptly thrust the nation into another war. After World War II, the victorious Allied Powers divided the Korean peninsula along the 38th parallel, placing the northern section under Soviet supervision and the southern region under U.S. supervision.

In July of 1950, North Korean forces invaded the south, forcing American and South Korean troops into a small defensive perimeter. After condemning North Korean aggression, the United Nations joined the conflict.Referred to as a “police action,” the battle was fought under the banner of the United Nations.

Reinforcements helped the beleaguered U.S. and South Korean forces break out and retake all of South Korea and also to seize a large portion of North Korea. China then entered the war and pushed the U.N. forces

back to the south. A stalemate soon set in around the original boundary between the countries. While fighting continued over the next two years, the opposing factions worked to reach a peace accord. They signed a cease-fire agreement in July 1953.

Over the three years of fighting, 33,686 American military personnel lost their lives. Two servicemen from Irving died in the course of the war.

During the 1950s, people moved to Irving from Dallas and surrounding towns in a wave of suburbanization that swept America. Many of the new residents worked in the nearby defense plants, commuted to Dallas, or built businesses in Irving. The small farming town of 2,500 became a suburb of almost 50,000 and an integral part of a growing metropolitan area.

Irvingites, like other Americans, were well aware of events in Korea. However, since the war was confined to the Korean peninsula and did not demand the full use of this nation’s military and civilian resources, it had a muted impact on the home front. As a result, the Korean War is sometimes referred to as the “forgotten war.”
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Irving and The Vietnam War
 
 

Irving and The Vietnam War

The 1960s, a decade of prosperity in the U.S., were a time of turmoil in distant areas of the globe. One such place was Southeast Asia, which was torn by war in Vietnam.

Vietnam had won independence from France in 1954. During the peace negotiations, the country was divided between north and south – the north under communist control, and the south under anti-communist control. Seeking to reunite the nation, North Vietnam supported an insurgency in the South.

The U.S. sent military advisers to South Vietnam during the 1950s and early 1960s. Conditions deteriorated, and in 1965, at the peak of U.S. participation in the conflict, 500,000 American troops were deployed there.

The fighting shared some aspects of a conventional war, but for the most part was a guerrilla war that proved difficult and frustrating for U.S. forces. American
involvement in the hostilities ended in 1973 with a peace agreement.

The war was fought against the backdrop of the Cold War, a battle of ideologies waged between the United States and the Soviet Union in the decades after WWII. During this period of tension, the U.S., U.S.S.R., and their allies engaged in proxy wars around the globe, each side striving to prove the superiority of its economic and political beliefs.  The conflict in Vietnam was not only a small country’s civil war; it was also a contest between superpowers.

The Vietnam War was the longest fought to date in American history. About three million U.S. military personnel served in the war, of which 58,226 were killed. Thirty-three Irvingites were among those who gave their lives.

Disagreements over the course and purpose of the war cleaved deep divisions in American society. The city of Irving underwent the same war-related stresses experienced throughout the country. At the same time, Irving’s economy grew, and the population doubled to 100,000. During the Vietnam period of the late 1960s and early 1970s, major projects such as DFW Airport and the Las Colinas development laid the foundation for Irving’s future expansion.
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Irving and Post-Vietnam Wars
 
 

Irving and Post-Vietnam Wars

In the decades since the end of the Vietnam War, the United States has sent its armed forces into harm’s way in numerous conflicts throughout the world. The causes of the actions have been many and varied, ranging from peacekeeping to famine relief to responses to terrorist attacks.
 
The U.S. undertook major combat operation in 1990-1991 in the Gulf War, or Operation Desert Storm, where over 500,000 U.S. troops, along with a broad coalition of U.N. forces, pushed the invading Iraqi army out of Kuwait. Following the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C., on September 11, 2001, United States military forces deployed to Afghanistan in 2001 and to Iraq in 2003.
 
Through the years, troops have engaged in smaller, but no less dangerous, combat missions in Grenada, Panama, and other troubled spots across the globe. U.S. military forces were used in a complex peacekeeping mission in Bosnia and as part of a U.N. relief mission in Somalia. In these deployments, large and small, Americans lost their lives while wearing their country’s uniform. Several of them were from Irving.
 
By 2009, Irving had become a city of business opportunity and excellent cultural programs, as well as the home of more than 200,000 residents. Yet, through all of the progress at home, one thing has remained constant: young men and women from
Irving continue to fight and die in wars around the globe, and they will answer the call in conflicts as yet unforeseen. Their sacrifices will not be forgotten.
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Battlement Walls  River of Freedom  Pool of Hope

Irving Veterans Memorial Park Seal   

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Irving Veterans' Memorial Park | 644 Rock Island Road Irving, Texas 75060