the 75th anniversary
celebration & rededication of Omaha's
WWII Memorial Park
Sunday june 4, 2023
Link to fb event for RSVPs
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Schedule of Events
- Interactive military equipment display from Fort Riley
- First Responder display
- Lincoln Parachute Skydiving Club show
- Native American Cultural Experience drum performance
- Vietnam Memorial Wall remembering fallen Nebraskans
- WWII Reenactors and equipment
- Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with guards
New arts plaza
- Fully ADA accessible space adjacent to Storz Drive
- Easy, accessible drop off area
- Large paved plaza for flexible, year-round variety of uses
- Subtle, multi-function compliment to the existing Memorial
- Planned ambient and versatile lighting for events and security features
- Event accessories for securing exhibits, tents, covers, and flags
- Complementary new landscaping below plaza’s south face
- Granite-faced pier marking the Plaza and 75th Anniversary
Embracing Peace statue
On display April 28th – November 2023
Inspired by photographs, Naval veteran Seward Johnson’s 26-foot sculpture “Embracing Peace”
celebrates the jubilation of the people in Times Square on V-J Day in 1945. His inspiration came from a photo taken by U.S. Navy Lieutenant Victor Jorgensen.
history of Memorial Park
In the beginning: private golf
Early Omaha citizen John Nelson Hays Patrick starts building his private family residence and golf course named “Happy Hollow.”
From golf to golf to golf
Happy Hollow Club is formed and members purchased J.N.H. Patrick’s house and 11 acres to become their clubhouse and golf course.
Brownell Hall & more houses?
Happy Hollow Club’s lease was almost over, so they sold the clubhouse and land to Brownell Hall in search of a more westward location. The land became Dundee Golf Course until the early 1940s. Then the plan was to divide it and extend the Dundee neighborhood. Meanwhile, World War II had started abroad in 1939 and in 1941, Pearl Harbor is attacked.
Mrs. Lu N. Broad & the appeal for a park
WWII’s outcome is still not assured. Mrs. Lu N. Broad, owner of the Gypsy Tea House, wrote a letter to Henry Doorly, publisher of the Omaha World Herald. She noted that the mothers and wives of those killed during the war came into her shop “looking so sorrowful.” She suggested constructing a memorial for fallen service men and women of Douglas County. This prompted the formation of the World War II Memorial Association.
Condemned land becomes park land
The war continues and pubilc enthusiasm for the park grows. Over 3,000 individuals, patriot organizations, and business organizations, voluntarily contributed $233,732.59 for the purchase of land, architectural services, construction, and landscaping. A true show of Omaha’s generosity and patriotism. In 1944, the WWII Memorial Association and Omaha City Council agreed to use 23ish condemned acres from the former golf courses and purchase 42 acres from Dundee Realty. The 65 acres were designated as memorial park land.
The vision is revealed!
Nebraska governor Dwight Griswold, Major General C.H. Danielson and Robert Storz formally announce the vision to the public. The park memorial would be designed by architect Leo A. Daly.
Presidential dedication“The men who gave their lives did so because they believed, as I believe, in an ideal. That ideal is peace in the world for all of the world.” – President Harry S Truman
On the fourth anniversary of D-Day, President Harry S. Truman dedicated Omaha’s World War II Memorial Park. He laid a wreath of lillies on the reflecting pool.
Memorial Park of today
In 1959, the Omaha Rose Society added a rose garden to the park. In 1968, the Memorial Park Pedestrian Bridge over Dodge Street was completed, safely connecting Elmwood Park to Memorial Park. In 1990, Woodmen of the World Insurance Company funded flagpoles and flags to line the north entrance of the park. 1987–Today, Memorial Park hosts the “City of Omaha Celebrates America” free annual concert, drawing crowds of over 50,000. The park is one of Omaha’s most popular spots for civic engagement, recreation, and memoriam to our fallen WWII heroes.
Rededication & Celebration Event
A public celebration and rededication of the Memorial Park will be held, with festivities beginning at 1:30pm.