Veterans Day last week was a fitting time to mark the official start of creation of a memorial to Pinal County veterans because, like the day itself, it will recognize the sacrifices made by residents of the county. The project 10 years in the making had its groundbreaking at the site provided by the city of Casa Grande, in the complex of Ed Hooper Rodeo Park and Paul Mason Sportsplex. The site is a good one, as it will be highly visible to generations to come.
Planning and fundraising have come from the efforts of many volunteers, some of them no longer active. However, the dedication has been substantial. Retired longtime Pinal Sheriff Frank Reyes was an early leader. Robert Miller is the current president.
The memorial will recognize all the branches of the military and Pinal County veterans who served in them, including those who lost their lives in service to their country in its wars. The latter will be listed individually. A virtual memorial is planned to include biographical information along with the physical structure. A key part of the memorial is to recognize the nature and importance of military service. Baby Boomers remember the days when the previous generation was filled with veterans of World War II. In more recent times, despite the fact that many Americans have served bravely in various wars and battles, military service is not as widespread. There is no draft, and service is entirely voluntary. That makes remembrance and knowledge about the military as important as ever, if not more important.
The nonprofit Pinal County Veterans Memorial Foundation has worked tirelessly over the years, holding multiple fundraisers and collecting thousands of dollars annually. Many services have been donated. However, the job is ongoing, and more volunteers and dollars are needed. Information about the memorial is available at https://pcvmf.com.