Governor Susana Martinez joined state and local leaders to kick off the Fourth of July holiday with veterans in a ceremony transferring Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park in Angel Fire to the Department of Veterans Services Monday (July 3) in Angel Fire.
“We are incredibly proud of the countless New Mexicans who have answered our nation’s call to defend our freedoms – and we will never forget the sacrifices they made for us,” Martinez said. “It’s an incredible honor to fulfill this request from our state’s veteran community by putting this memorial under the specialized care of our veterans department.”
While the New Mexico State Parks Division has done a great job managing the memorial, the New Mexico Department of Veterans Services has the necessary expertise to manage and safeguard the memorial. Both agencies worked together through the transfer process. Earlier this year, the Governor signed the bill which authorized the transition.
The premise driving the unanimous agreement is that the Memorial is not a “park” (i.e. for camping, fishing, hiking, picnicking, etc)—but rather a sacred place of reflection for veterans…especially Vietnam War veterans, their families, and friends.
The Memorial was built in honor of Marine First Lieutenant David Westphall by his parents after he was killed in Vietnam in 1968. It was subsequently donated to the State of New Mexico.