Day Trips: Veterans Memorial Plaza, San Antonio

Small park in downtown San Antonio serves as a moving Memorial Day reminder

Photos by Gerald E. McLeod

Veterans Memorial Plaza in downtown San Antonio does not glorify war, but serves as a reminder of the horrors of combat and the sacrifices of the brave Americans who served.

At the northern end of the green space is the 1926 Municipal Auditorium (now the Tobin Center) built as a memorial to the casualties of World War I. To the right of the main entrance is a white tombstone-like War Mothers Memorial, placed there to honor the mothers who lost their children in the European conflict.

Directly in front of the entrance to the auditorium, almost as a somber reminder of revelers attending concerts, is the Korean War Memorial. The unusual monument shows two bronze soldiers back to back with their heads and upper bodies above a foxhole, their faces twisted in anxiety as they stand guard. White concrete snow covering the conical stone monument and the soldiers' winter clothing conveys the bitter cold and hardship even in the heat of a San Antonio summer.

At the southern end of the plaza is a very poignant reminder of the tragedies of war. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial has a larger-than-life Marine radioman kneeling over a wounded buddy. The soldier has one hand on his comrade's neck feeling for a pulse while looking skyward toward the American flag in the center of the park, the young man's bronze face open in his anguish as he waits for help.

Veterans Memorial Plaza is at 451 Jefferson at the corner of East Martin Street on the north side of downtown San Antonio. The park has no statues of generals astride a horse, only the silent cries of soldiers from the battlefield.

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Veterans Memorial Plaza, World War I, San Antonio

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