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Ted D. Ayres: Do more to promote veterans park

  • Published Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, at 5:13 p.m.
  • Updated Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, at 5:13 p.m.

Along with several other volunteers, I spent last Saturday morning laying bricks at the World War II Memorial in Veterans Memorial Park. As these bricks are placed to permanently honor many of those who served our country in World War II, I am reminded that each brick tells a very personal story of sacrifice and commitment to liberty and freedom.

The World War II Memorial, which was dedicated in November 2011, is the newest of 15 different memorials in the park. Included in the 15 is the spectacular John S. Stevens Bicentennial Flag Pavilion, which has 13 flags continually flying to celebrate and commemorate the diversity of purposes and peoples who have contributed to this country’s development and enrichment. The pavilion was rededicated in 2007 after a renovation spearheaded by Philip W. Blake.

The park is surely one of the hidden treasures of Wichita and Sedgwick County. Have you been there? Do you know where it is located?

The park sits on the riverbank along a street called Greenway Boulevard, which is a two-block-long curve of street between Second Street and Central. Unfortunately, only one sign marks the existence of the park, so you have to know it’s there to find it.

Our city leaders need to do more to promote and celebrate the park. More signs (similar to those that provide direction to Intrust Bank Arena or the Wichita Art Museum) would be wonderful. More promotion in visitor publications about the city would be very helpful. Finally, I suggest renaming Greenway as “Veterans Memorial Boulevard” or “Phil Blake Boulevard.”

If you agree, let your elected representatives know. I also encourage everyone to visit Veterans Memorial Park and honor those who answered the call to serve.

Ted D. Ayres of Wichita is president of the board of directors of World War II Memorial Inc.

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