History of the Veterans Memorial Park
After the Vietnam War, ‘1965-1972,’ a group of Vietnam veterans, families and friends started a movement to remember Vietnam soldiers kill in action. Their first effort was to secure land for a memorial monument. They approached the City of Cody and were granted a one acre plot of land near Beck Lake and named it “Vietnam Veteran Memorial Park”. 1973’
The ‘Vietnam Memorial Monument’ was dedicated in the Park on Veterans Day November 11, 1986; by Governor Ed Herschler, ‘To Honor Wyoming citizens who lost their lives or were missing in action’. The Monument was funded by the State of Wyoming, the Vietnam Committee and the Cody community.
The Wyoming Cowboy Chapter #307 of the Korean War Veterans Association was granted a Charter Dec 18, 2005. The members immediately began plans for an enlargement of the Veterans Park and the construction of a ‘Korean War Memorial’. On April 18, 2006 Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal proclaimed Memorial Park in Cody Wyoming as the official site of the “The Korean War Veterans Memorial”.
A ‘Paving Brick Program’ was started in the fall of 2007 and still selling them in 2017. These12” x 12” granite paving stones, can be purchased by anyone, to honor anyone, for $250. These bricks border the sidewalks in the Park and there are now 975 of them in place and they are still available from the ‘Wyoming Veterans Memorial Park Foundation’.
The Korean War Veterans group immediately started raising money and making plans for the Park enlargement and construction of the Korean War Memorial. The City of Cody donated additional land to make a total of over two acres for the Wyoming Veterans Memorial Park. The fund razing was a massive project in itself. A total of $600,000 was needed to bury 550 feet Irrigation canal, clear trees, build over 2000 feet of sidewalk, build retaining walls , a parking lot , put in power for light, irrigation system, and build “The Korean War Memorial Monument”.
On Sept 6th 2008 the ‘Wyoming Veterans Memorial Park’ and the ‘Korean War Memorial Monument’ were dedicated by Governor Dave Freudenthal accompanied by Council General Koo of the Republic of Korea. This was a major celebration in the development of the Park attended by a crowd of over 800.
Plans for a World War II memorial were already under way with a grant from the State of Wyoming of $200,000 for the next project at the Park.
On August 15, 2009 the ‘World War II Memorial’ was dedicated by Governor Dave Freudenthal to honor the Wyoming men and women who served and sacrificed in our military services during the Second World War. 1941-1945.
The Freedom Memorial was dedicated in 2011 and lists the names of Wyoming men and women who died in military service since the Vietnam War.
The ‘World War I Memorial’ was dedicated Memorial Day 2014 by Wyoming Governor Matt Mead, to recognize, honor and individually memorialize Wyoming citizens who were killed or died of wounds received in combat while serving in the military during World War I.
A ‘War Dog Memorial Statue’ will be added to the Park and dedicated in the summer of 2018.