Fallen Warrior Statue Installation at Anchorage Veterans Memorial
Warriors Cross statue
PHOTO: Courtesy of the Office of Mayor Dan Sullivan
On Friday, October 25th, 2013 at 2:00pm, the iconic Fallen Warrior statue will be installed as one of the final touches in the restoration of the Anchorage Veterans’ Memorial at Delaney Park. Final completion of site work is due for late October. A ceremony to rededicate the memorial, raise the American, Alaskan, and POW flags, and open the site officially to the public, will take place on Memorial Day, 2014.
The Alaska Veterans’ Foundation, Inc., the Viet Nam Vets Motorcycle Club, and the Vietnam Veterans of America jointly commissioned the statue, and raised funds for its production. “We want to thank Mayor Dan Sullivan and the Anchorage Veterans’ Memorial Committee for all of their work to make this a reality,” said Ric Davidge, Chairman of the municipal Commission on Military and Veterans’ Affairs and Chairman of the Alaska Veterans’ Foundation, Inc. He further stated, “The Fallen Warrior statue, or “Warrior’s Cross” is an international icon dating back to Roman times, memorializing fallen warriors. We will never forget.”
The original Anchorage Veterans’ Memorial was constructed and dedicated in 1952 by Spenard VFW Post 1685, and was located on L Street between 9th and 10th Avenues. The present Anchorage Veterans’ Memorial was designed and constructed in 1986-87 on Delaney Park property, and was dedicated on Memorial Day, 1987. The current renovation began with a public process in 2007, and has been generously supported by the public and private contributions of over 560 donors.
In the spring of 2010, Mayor Dan Sullivan appointed members of the Anchorage Veterans’ Memorial Committee, and gave them a specific mandate to raise the funds necessary for the site renovation. By the spring of this year, all necessary funds were in hand - $1.5 million. The late Mary Louise Rasmussen, herself a World War II veteran and former head of the Women’s Army Corps., was honorary chair of the committee, and provided significant leadership until her death.
The renovated memorial, today more than ever, will honor the service and sacrifice of Alaskans going back to territorial days, and specifically memorialize the 212 fallen Alaskans whose names are engraved in black granite panels at the base of the central flagpole. May they never be forgotten. See picture of actual Fallen Warrior Statue attached.
About the Artist: Andrew Chernak
Beginning his life on March 30, 1950 in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Andrew Chernak became imbued in our Nation’s history. Andrew was surrounded by sculpture in and around his city of Philadelphia, to the battlefields of Gettysburg and south to our Nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. The hallmark of Andrew's work is unapologetic fine detail and accuracy, taking short cuts is not acceptable in any of Andrew's sculptures. When one stops to linger over Andrew's sculpture, taking a deeper look, one will see detail never imagined. A sense of his subject's life is at hand.
Andrew enlisted in the US Army in 1968, thus following in the footsteps of his Grandfather and father who served in the Army during WWI, and WWII, respectively. While in Vietnam, Andrew served as an Infantryman, starting as a Point man, and quickly attained the position of squad leader. He was awarded the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart twice, the coveted Combat Infantryman’s Badge, and four other decorations. Andrew's military experience has given him an edge and sensitivity to achieve detail and accuracy in his works. Having lived history, has empowered Andrew to give his works a realism that cannot be obtained by those who haven't lived it.
Andrew is a life member of the VFW, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Disabled American Veterans, and VietNow. He is also a member of Vietnam Veterans of America, and The Company of Military Historians.
Andrew has been invited to attend the rededication of the memorial next Memorial Day 2014 at the expense of the Foundation per agreement at commissionin