Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza

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Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza
P-Signal Mast of the USS Arizona 1.jpg
USS Arizona Signal Mast
Location Phoenix, Arizona
Coordinates 33°26′53″N112°05′39″W / 33.448112°N 112.094257°W / 33.448112; -112.094257
Operated byCity of Phoenix

The Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza is an urban park and gathering place, located in front of the Arizona state capitol complex in downtown Phoenix, Arizona. It serves as a home to a number of memorials honoring prominent figures in Arizona history as well as memorializing significant wars and other events that have affected the state. It is designated as one of the Phoenix Points of Pride.

Urban park park in a city or other incorporated place

An urban park or metropolitan park, also known as a municipal park or a public park, public open space, or municipal gardens (UK), is a park in cities and other incorporated places to offer recreation and green space to residents of, and visitors to, the municipality. The design, operation and maintenance is usually done by government agencies, typically on the local level, but may occasionally be contracted out to a park conservancy, friends of group, or private sector company.

Arizona state of the United States of America

Arizona is a state in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the Western and the Mountain states. It is the sixth largest and the 14th most populous of the 50 states. Its capital and largest city is Phoenix. Arizona shares the Four Corners region with Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico; its other neighboring states are Nevada and California to the west and the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California to the south and southwest.

Arizona State Capitol architectural structure

The Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix, Arizona, United States, was the last home for Arizona's Territorial government, until Arizona became a state in 1912. Initially, all three branches of the new state government occupied the four floors of the statehouse. As the state expanded the branches relocated to adjacent buildings and additions. The 1901 portion of the Capitol is now maintained as the Arizona Capitol Museum with a focus on the history and culture of Arizona. The Arizona State Library which occupied most of the 1938 addition until July 2017 re-opened in late 2018 as a part of the Arizona Capitol Museum.



Arizona Pioneer Women Memorial WESLEY BOLIN MEMORIAL PLAZA.jpg
Arizona Pioneer Women Memorial

The plaza was established on March 9, 1978, by the Arizona Legislature [1] in honor of Governor Wesley Bolin, who had died a mere 5 days previously on March 4. Prior to the resolution creating the plaza, it had simply been a part of the Legislative Governmental Mall. While the plaza exists only as a part of the Mall, in common usage the terms are interchangeable and the name of the plaza is often used in preference to the Mall.

Wesley Bolin American politician

Wesley Bolin was an American Democratic Party politician who served as the 15th governor of the U.S. state of Arizona between 1977 and 1978. His five months in office mark the shortest term in office for any Arizona governor. Prior to ascending to the Governorship, Bolin was the longest serving Secretary of State of Arizona, where he served for 28 years.

Much like the National Mall on which it is loosely based, the Legislative Governmental Mall is intended as an open-air public space featuring monuments, memorials and gardens. Some of these monuments were erected prior to the inception of the Plaza, such as the monument to the USS Arizona which was dedicated over a year earlier on December 7, 1976. The Plaza, when dedicated, included these existing memorials and all subsequent memorials have been located within the boundaries of the plaza.

National Mall national park in Washington, D.C.

The National Mall is a landscaped park within the National Mall and Memorial Parks, an official unit of the United States National Park System. It is located near the downtown area of Washington, D.C., the capital city of the United States, and is administered by the National Park Service (NPS) of the United States Department of the Interior.

USS <i>Arizona</i> (BB-39) large ship sunk during the attack on Pearl Harbor

USS Arizona was a Pennsylvania-class battleship built for and by the United States Navy in the mid-1910s. Named in honor of the 48th state's recent admission into the union, the ship was the second and last of the Pennsylvania class of "super-dreadnought" battleships. Although commissioned in 1916, the ship remained stateside during World War I. Shortly after the end of the war, Arizona was one of a number of American ships that briefly escorted President Woodrow Wilson to the Paris Peace Conference. The ship was sent to Turkey in 1919 at the beginning of the Greco-Turkish War to represent American interests for several months. Several years later, she was transferred to the Pacific Fleet and remained there for the rest of her career.

Also located in the Plaza is the memorial dedicated to the 158th Infantry Regiment, the oldest and most prestigious unit in Arizona. The monument, based off a captured Japanese monument in the Philippines, stands as one of the few if only memorials to the regiment which served as one of the premier units of World War II.

158th Infantry Regiment (United States)

The 158th Infantry Regiment ("Bushmasters") is an infantry unit of the Arizona National Guard. The regiment has served abroad in World War I, World War II and Afghanistan.

Commonwealth of the Philippines 1935-1946 republic in Southeast Asia

The Commonwealth of the Philippines was the administrative body that governed the Philippines from 1935 to 1946, aside from a period of exile in the Second World War from 1942 to 1945 when Japan occupied the country. It replaced the Insular Government, a United States territorial government, and was established by the Tydings–McDuffie Act. The Commonwealth was designed as a transitional administration in preparation for the country's full achievement of independence.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Owing to its location directly in front of the state capitol, the plaza has also become a meeting place and a focal point for protests and demonstrations, such as the 2006 United States immigration reform protests, with Phoenix participants culminating in a rally at the plaza. Over 100,000 participants took part in the display. [2] [3]

2006 United States immigration reform protests

In 2006-2007, millions of people participated in protests over a proposed change to U.S. immigration policy. These large scale mobilizations are widely seen as a historic turn point in Latino politics, especially Latino immigrant civic participation and political influence, as noted in a range of scholarly publications in this field. The protests began in response to proposed legislation known as H.R. 4437, which would raise penalties for illegal immigration and classify undocumented immigrants and anyone who helped them enter or remain in the US as felons. As part of the wider immigration debate, most of the protests not only sought a rejection of this bill, but also a comprehensive reform of the country's immigration laws that included a path to citizenship for all undocumented immigrants.

Monuments and memorials

Anchor from USS Arizona on display at Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza, Phoenix, AZ. Arizona anchor bolin plaza.JPG
Anchor from USS Arizona on display at Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza, Phoenix, AZ.
The restored gun barrel from the USS Arizona on display in Wesley Bolin Plaza AZStateHouseAZGun02.jpg
The restored gun barrel from the USS Arizona on display in Wesley Bolin Plaza
The breech of the restored USS Arizona gun barrel. AZStateHouseAZGunBreech01.jpg
The breech of the restored USS Arizona gun barrel.
The restored gun barrel from the USS Missouri on display in Wesley Bolin Plaza USSMissouri16gunAZ01.jpg
The restored gun barrel from the USS Missouri on display in Wesley Bolin Plaza

The plaza is home to 30 memorials dedicated to topics including important individuals, organizations, and events. Among the more prominent are the mast, anchor, and a 14-inch gun of the USS Arizona, memorials to major wars such as World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War, the Korean War and Desert Storm, and America's first monument of the Bill of Rights. Also of note are some memorials that have caused considerable controversy, as mentioned below.

Mast (sailing) pole of wood, metal or lightweight materials used in the rigging of a sailing vessel to carry or support its sail

The mast of a sailing vessel is a tall spar, or arrangement of spars, erected more or less vertically on the centre-line of a ship or boat. Its purposes include carrying sail, spars, and derricks, and giving necessary height to a navigation light, look-out position, signal yard, control position, radio aerial or signal lamp. Large ships have several masts, with the size and configuration depending on the style of ship. Nearly all sailing masts are guyed.

Anchor Device used to connect a vessel to the bed of a body of water to prevent the craft from drifting

An anchor is a device, normally made of metal, used to connect a vessel to the bed of a body of water to prevent the craft from drifting due to wind or current. The word derives from Latin ancora, which itself comes from the Greek ἄγκυρα (ankura).

14"/45 caliber gun

The 14"/45 caliber gun,, whose variations were known initially as the Mark 1, 2, 3, and 5, and, when upgraded in the 1930s, were redesignated as the Mark 8, 9, 10, and 12. They were the first 14-inch (356 mm) guns to be employed with the United States Navy and were, for over a year, the most powerful naval ordnance afloat. The 14-inch/45 caliber guns were installed as the primary armament aboard all of the United States Navy's New York-class, Nevada-class, and Pennsylvania-class battleships. The gun also saw service in the British Royal Navy, where it was designated the BL 14 inch gun Mk II.

The following is a full list of memorials found at the plaza.


Due to the sometimes controversial nature of the events or subject matter of the monuments in the plaza, they have become the subject of intense criticism and sometimes even legal battles.

Ten Commandments monument

Predating the creation of the Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza, the monument had originally been erected in 1964 by the Fraternal Order of Eagles in connection to Cecil B. DeMille and his 1956 film The Ten Commandments; it was relocated to the park more than a decade later. The monument became the subject of a removal challenge in 2003, when the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union complained it serves no secular purpose, thus violating the separation of church and state. [4] The monument remains in the plaza, but controversy surrounding its inclusion on government-operated property continues.

Arizona 9/11 Memorial

The memorial to commemorate the September 11, 2001, attacks was unveiled on the fifth anniversary of the attacks, September 11, 2006. Almost immediately, criticism that the memorial contained anti-American sentiment began to surface. Some of the descriptions have also been described as meaningless. [5]

In response to the critics, the commission in charge of the memorial's design and construction has promised to review it and make changes if necessary. This process is ongoing.

See also

Related Research Articles

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The first memorials to the victims of the September 11 attacks in 2001 began to take shape online, as hundreds of webmasters posted their own thoughts, links to the Red Cross and other rescue agencies, photos, and eyewitness accounts. Numerous online September 11 memorials began appearing a few hours after the attacks, although many of these memorials were only temporary. Around the world, U.S. embassies and consulates became makeshift memorials as people came out to pay their respects.

USS <i>Missouri</i> (BB-63) Iowa-class battleship of the U.S. Navy

USS Missouri (BB-63) is an Iowa-class battleship and was the third ship of the United States Navy to be named after the U.S. state of Missouri. Missouri was the last battleship commissioned by the United States and is best remembered as the site of the surrender of the Empire of Japan which ended World War II.

USS <i>Utah</i> (BB-31) US battleship

USS Utah (BB-31/AG-16) was the second and final member of the Florida class of dreadnought battleships. The first ship of the United States Navy named after the state of Utah, she had one sister ship, Florida. Utah was built by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation, laid down in March 1909 and launched in December of that year. She was completed in August 1911, and boasted a main battery of ten 12-inch (305 mm) guns in five twin gun turrets.

World War II Memorial Wikimedia disambiguation page

The World War II Memorial is a memorial of national significance dedicated to Americans who served in the armed forces and as civilians during World War II. Consisting of 56 pillars and a pair of small triumphal arches surrounding a square and fountain, it sits on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on the former site of the Rainbow Pool at the eastern end of the Reflecting Pool, between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument.

USS <i>Arizona</i> Memorial

The USS Arizona Memorial, at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii, marks the resting place of 1,102 of the 1,177 sailors and Marines killed on USS Arizona during the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and commemorates the events of that day. The attack on Pearl Harbor and the island of Oahu led to the United States' direct involvement in World War II.

California State Capitol Museum

The California State Capitol Museum consists of a museum in and grounds around the California State Capitol in Sacramento, California, USA. The building has been the home of the California State Legislature since 1869. The State Capitol Museum has been a property in the California State Parks system since 1982.

Manila American Cemetery

The Manila American Cemetery and Memorial is located in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, Metro Manila, within the boundaries of the former Fort William McKinley. It can be reached most easily from the city via Epifano de los Santos Ave. (EDSA) to McKinley Road, then to McKinley Parkway inside the Bonifacio Global City. The Nichols Field Road is the easiest access from Manila International Airport to the cemetery.

United States Navy Memorial memorial in Washington, D.C.

The United States Navy Memorial, on Pennsylvania Avenue NW between 7th Street Northwest and 9th Street Northwest in Washington, D.C., honors those who have served or are currently serving in the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and the Merchant Marine.

9/11 Memorial (Arizona) a state memorial to the events and aftermath of the September 11 attacks

The 9/11 Memorial in Arizona is a state memorial to the events and aftermath of the September 11 attacks, located at the Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza near the State Capitol in Phoenix, Arizona. The monument is a circular plan with a flat inclined metal ring. The ring was inscribed with written statements by cutting each letter through the metal, thus allowing sunlight to project the statements onto the concrete base of the monument.

The Arizona State Fairgrounds is a permanent fairgrounds on McDowell Road, Encanto Village, within the city of Phoenix, Arizona, United States. It is currently used yearly to host the Arizona State Fair and the Maricopa County Fair, as well as for other events.

USS <i>Arizona</i> salvaged artifacts

Some of the USS Arizona salvaged artifacts, taken from the wreck of that battleship after it exploded and sank in the Attack on Pearl Harbor, are displayed in several locations in the U.S. State of Arizona. The term "marine salvage" refers to the process of recovering a ship, its cargo, or other property after a shipwreck. This is a list of those artifacts recovered from the shipwreck. These artifacts are on display in the Arizona State Capitol Museum, the Carl T. Hayden Veterans Administration Medical Center and in the Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza, all of which are located in Phoenix. One of two salvaged bells of USS Arizona is on display in the University of Arizona Student Union Memorial Center in Tucson, and Glendale Veteran's Memorial in the city of Glendale, Arizona is constructed using material from the wreck of the battleship. Also included in this list of salvaged artifacts is a piece of steel salvaged from USS Arizona on display at the USS South Dakota Memorial in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

The Ten Commandments Monument, authorized by the Oklahoma legislature and approved by the governor in 2009, was installed on the grounds of the Oklahoma State Capitol, in Oklahoma City, in 2012. The mere concept engendered years of political controversy, court suits based on religious freedom of religion issues, destruction in 2014 by a man who drove his car into it, replacement in the same location, and even attempts to remove Supreme Court justices who ruled in 2014 that the monument must be removed to another site. After Governor Mary Fallin, key legislators, and the justices agreed on a substitute site, the monument was removed from the capitol grounds in 2015.

Ten Commandments Monument may refer to:


  1. "HB2104 - 461R". Arizona House of Representatives.
  2. "100,000 are expected for pro-migrant march". The Arizona Republic.
  3. "Immigration march cost Phoenix over $300,000". The Arizona Republic.
  4. "ACLU: Thou shalt not use Ten Commandments monument at State Capitol". Arizona Daily Sun. July 26, 2003.
  5. Benson, Matthew. "Attack memorial stirs more attacks". The Arizona Republic.