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Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park in Angel Fire is the nation's first state park honoring Vietnam veterans.

Text of Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park

  • A Div is ion o f the Energy, M inera ls & Natura l Resources Depar tment

    Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park

  • Dear Friends:

    Thank you for honoring Americas veterans and for your interest in Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park in Angel Fire, New Mexico. The parks mission is to remember and honor Vietnam veterans, provide educational opportunities to the public, and maintain a haven for healing and reconciliation.

    The Memorial was constructed from 1968-1971 and was the first major Vietnam memorial in the United States. The site received wide attention in the 1970s and helped inspire the establishment of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., in 1982. In 1987, the U.S. Congress recognized Angel Fire as a Memorial of national significance. Angel Fire is a special, emotional, and powerful place for Americas Vietnam veterans and hosts thousands of visitors annually.

    The Memorial became a state park in 2005. New Mexico also established the New Mexico Department of Veterans Services, elevating it to Cabinet level, and has expanded tax benefits for veterans. New Mexico was also first in the nation to establish a $250,000 supplemental life insurance policy for all National Guard and Reserve; thirty-five other states are now following New Mexicos lead.

    State Parks will work together with Americas veterans and diverse partners to protect and enhance this unique place entrusted to our care. I look forward to hearing from you and invite you to visit us at Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park, another remarkable site in a remarkable placeNew Mexico, the Land of Enchantment.

    Yours in respect and honor,

    Dave Simon Director, New Mexico State Parks

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    New Mexico State Parks

  • Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park, in Angel Fire, New Mexico, was dedicated as New Mexicos 33rd state park on Veterans Day, November 11, 2005. In 1971, this site became the first major national memorial to Vietnam veterans, preceding the Vietnam Veterans National Memorial (The Wall) in Washington, D.C., which was dedicated in 1982.

    The 25-acre Angel Fire memorial is sacred ground to thousands of Vietnam veterans and their families. It is now the first and only state park in the U.S. exclusively dedicated to Vietnam veterans. Privately operated for over 30 years, the Memorial has entered an exciting phase of rejuvenation and expansion under state park management. New Mexico State Parks invites and welcomes partners in this effort.

    M E M O R I A LS T A T E PA R K

    A n g e l F i r eN M

    V I E T N A MV E T E R A N S

  • The mission of Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park is to remember and honor Vietnam veterans, provide educational opportunities for the public, and maintain a haven for healing and reconciliation.

  • By inspiration and design, from the beginning, the Cha-pel was dedicated to all Vietnam Veterans: the living, the dead and the maimed in body and spirit. Dr. Victor Westphall

  • The Westphalls elder son, David, was an athlete, scholar, artist and philosopher. He found his calling with the U.S. Marine Corps. On May 22, 1968, First Lieutenant David Westphall was among sixteen Marines killed in an ambush in Con Thien, Vietnam.

    The grieving Westphalls used Davids insurance policies as a catalyst for the construction of the Vietnam Veterans Peace and Brotherhood Chapel. The Chapel was dedicated May 22, 1971 as a place of healing and to serve as an enduring symbol of the tragedy of war. In 1982, the Memorial was deeded to the Disabled American Veterans, and then later donated back to Doc and the David Westphall Veterans Foundation in 1998.

    Dr. Victor Doc Westphall and Jeanne Westphall raised their children David and Walter in Albuquerque, New Mexico. With their children grown, the Westphalls purchased the 800-acre Val Verde ranch near Angel Fire, where Doc planned to develop home sites and a golf course.

  • The Foundation sought a partnership with the State of New Mexico and the Memorial became a state park on Veterans Day 2005. The David Westphall Foundation remains the lead non-governmental partner in the park.

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  • Rebirth and Future PlansNew Mexico State Parks has embarked on ambitious plans to rejuvenate and expand the Memorial, offer more veterans outreach, and broaden educational programs. Our vision is to increase and welcome national and international visitation, promote public awareness of the Vietnam War and its role in American society, and relate messages of honor, healing and learning about conflicts in which United States Armed Forces have participated.

  • Currently, regular programming includes Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Veterans Day Events; participation in the annual Run for the Wall; guided tours, school outreach programs, and military reunion programs. The New Mexico Department of Veterans Services also maintains on office on-site.

    A complete facility upgrade program is underway. Phase I renovated and restored the Peace and Brotherhood Chapel and grounds. Phase II will remodel the museum/visitor center (built in 1984) and upgrade exhibits. State Parks has also launched numerous new partnerships: with the New Mexico Department of Veterans Services to expand veterans outreach programs at the Memorial; with Texas Tech University to preserve oral histories of Vietnam veterans; with the National Park Service to connect Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park with the Vietnam Veterans National Memorial in Washington D.C.; and with a network of other Vietnam veterans memorials across America.

    Photo courtesy of Janet

    I am an Iraqi War Vet. The highest praise I ever received was to have a Vietnam Veteran say he was proud of me. B. Anonymous note left on Memorial bulletin board

  • Help Us Complete The MissionNew Mexico State Parks and the David Westphall Veterans Foundation have ambitious plans for the future, but all necessary resources are not yet in hand. Other plans include:

    expanded facilities to accommodate new displays, educational programs, & meetings; staffing increases to broaden educational outreach; partnerships with other Vietnam War sites and memorials; traveling museum to promote education and document oral histories; rotating exhibits and displays on loan from other sites; special events and conferences focused on the Vietnam War and veterans issues, generally.

  • PartnersThe David Westphall Veterans Foundation is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization. The Foundations mission is to support Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park and to honor Americas veterans and members of its military forces by memorializing the sacrifices they have made, and by recognizing the sense of duty and the courage they have displayed as they answered their countrys call to arms. The Foundation strives to educate present and future generations about the dangers to which free societies are exposed, the responsibilities inherent in citizenship and the enormous cost of freedom.

    The Foundations objective is to be progressive and dynamic as it fulfills its purpose to honor past, current, and future generations of military service members. A guiding principal of the Foundation will always be that military service is to be honored and respected, because until humanity achieves peace, the preservation of freedom will depend largely upon the convictions, the courage and the heroism of members of the United States Military Service. Contributions to the Foundation are tax-deductible.

    David Westphall Veterans Foundation P.O. Box 608, Angel Fire, NM 87710 tel 505.377.6900; fax 505.377.3223 [email protected];

  • M E M O R I A LS T A T E PA R K

    A n g e l F i r eN M

    V I E T N A MV E T E R A N S awesome site in an incredible location. I urge all of you to try to get there some time. It is right up there with The Wall. John Rowan, President, Vietnam Veterans of America

  • 1.888.NM PARKS

    A Div is ion o f the Energy, M inera ls & Natura l Resources Depar tment

    New Mexico State ParksP.O. Box 1147

    Santa Fe, New Mexico 87504-1147


    Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park P.O. Box 608

    Angel Fire, New Mexico 87710


    M E M O R I A LS T A T E PA R K

    A n g e l F i r eN M

    V I E T N A MV E T E R A N S