On November 11, 2021, Veterans Day, the city of West Valley unveiled something quite extraordinary. A brand-new tribute, a memorial to the 2,945 fallen Utah veterans.
The Utah Veterans Memorial was the passion project of West Valley city mayor Ron Bigelow who has worked for many years to see this project come to life. Much time was donated by everyone involved, “everyone had some skin on the table when it came to this project.” Said Thomas Brennan who is a principal at EDA and led the design team that designed the memorial.
In his speech Mayor Bigelow acknowledged the veterans who donated to see this project come to fruition. Many Utah veterans were in attendance along with Congressmen Burgess Owens and Chris Stewart, who is himself a veteran.
Chris Stewart said, “Families serve in the military. For every soldier in Afghanistan or Iraq, there is someone at home who is worrying about them and praying for them.”
Among the veterans in attendance was Ken Gillespie, a veteran of the 68th air rescue, as a medic with the Marine Corps. He did three tours in Vietnam. “I just heard about the memorial this morning on the news, and I thought, what a great idea, it’s about time. It’s going to be a wonderful place to remember and relax and cry. I’ve got two good friends up on that wall. I am glad they are recognized. This makes me feel really good as a veteran.”
May this forever be a place where families who have served in the military can gather to remember, relax, and perhaps even cry.
The memorial is going to expand over time, but for now it includes:
- Memorial Wall with names of 2,945 Veterans
- 3 acres and 14,100SF of plaza dedicated to the memorial
- The Memorial Wall is 75 feet wide, 8 feet high and over a foot thick.
- Five American flags at the entry – each of these flags were originally flown at our Nation’s Capital in Washington DC. Pathway will also be lined with flags representing each military branch
- All Utah-focused sourced materials such as quartzite sandstone from Browns Canyon Quarry. Which was also used to build the West Valley City police department.
- The 29 benches throughout the grounds of the Memorial represent the 29 counties in Utah
- The sandstone monolith at the center is formed in the shape of Utah with cutouts representing the Great Salt Lake and Utah Lake with sides carved to show the Slot Canyon and the canyon’s runoff flow.
- Stormwater management practices – working with Granger-Hunter Improvement District to keep much of the rainwater retained on site for watering the landscape which include native plants adaptable to this area of the state.
The memorial is located at 3234 S. Cultural Center, Drive in West Valley city.