Tidewater Veterans Memorial

19th Street across from the Pavilion

The Veterans Memorial Veterans groups from across the country are invited and encouraged to use this site for organizational ceremonies and display of unit flags during reunions or gatherings. For more information please call the Resort Programs Office at: (804) 422-1000

The Tidewater Veterans Memorial was created in an unusual manner. The memorial committee decided to involve the youth of the community in the project's creative design and concept phase. After all, military veterans

fought for the future of our country so that younger and subsequent generations might enjoy the blessings of freedom and the American dream as the knew it. With that in mind, a contest was held among local high school students.

The final design concepts upon which the memorial was created were shared by three Virginia Beach students: Edward Davis of Bayside High School, Audrea F. Powell of VoTech, and Martha Ellen Clark of First Colonial High School.

Three main themes emerged from their renderings:

  • A World Divided By War, represented by the spherical forms at the site's focal point.
  • An Effort To Bring All People Together, represented by moving water at the base of the forms.
  • The Service Rendered By The Veterans, symbolized by the wall of flags on the site's north side.

Local artists, sculptors, and architects were invited, through another competition, to integrate these three themes and concepts into a final memorial design. From among 25 entries, Joseph A. Miller, a young architect with the local firm of Talbot and Associates, Ltd., won first place with the design that was used to construct the memorial.

The manner in which the forms are split emphasises the effect and makes the whole form more dynamic. This feature reflects how the world is divided by war. The cut out void in the sperical shapes symbolizes the part of the world that is lost when war takes place. The constantly moving waterfall also symbolizes the turmoil of war, yet it also represents the unifying factor to bring people together - a message from the past together with a message for the future.

The flags located to the north of the center structure are the flags of the United States, the Commonwealth of Virginia, the five military services, and a specially designed Tidewater Veterans Flag. The POW-MIA flag, flying beneath the U.S. flag, is in special recognition of recent conflicts and our commitment to those who have not yet returned. This flag will remain in place until each of our Prisoners Of War and Missing In Action are accounted for. "It's a very powerful piece of work," says Victor Pickett, Chairman of the Art Department at Old Dominion University and one of the design judges. "It's simple and yet creates an environment that people can walk through and be a part of. When the lights shine on it at night, the effect is spectacular. Memorials are not easy to create; the are so subjective. They have to incorporate the feelings of many different people. This work really does symbolize that."

Victor Pickett's statement captures the essence of what the Tidewater Veterans Memorial has sought. The Committee did not want something that just focused on the past. It had to be something that lifted the spirits and would speak to everyonne who viewed it. It had to have a message for the future.

A fitting culmination for the project was the design of the Tidewater Veterans Flag. Again, the youth of the community were called upon. Another contest was held among Tidewater junior and senior high school students to create what they envisioned such a flag to be. The winner from among the many excellent entries was Richard Turner, a 15 year old student at Blair Middle School in Norfolk.

From concept to reality, the memorial is now part of the great legacy of service rendered by the military of this area.