When plans to develop a replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Gilbert were announced in May, the town became the fourth East Valley municipality to lay the groundwork for a new veterans memorial in the last three years.
Tempe, Scottsdale and Chandler have all seen plans and, in some cases, construction, of similar projects with their own unique elements. The projects reflect the strength of the voice of Arizona’s significant veteran population, but have also tested the East Valley’s ability to finance four separate veterans memorials.
According to 2010 census data, Arizona ranks No. 13 in the nation for the size of its veteran population. And as a percentage of its total population, Arizona’s veteran population — 8.7 percent — is fourth among the 20 biggest states, trailing just Virginia, Washington and Florida.
The portion of that population that served in the Vietnam War has a strong desire for memorials, according to Vietnam veteran David Lucier, president and CEO of the Arizona Veterans & Military Leadership Alliance.
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