Welcome to the 3rd edition of my ACTIVE OMAHA blog series! I just want to start by saying this: If “big free concert with fireworks” is all that comes to mind when you think about Memorial Park in Omaha, then it’s time to think again!
#3: Memorial Park
(6005 Underwood Avenue)
Did you know that President Harry S. Truman came to Omaha in 1948 to help dedicate Memorial Park, on the 4th anniversary of the Allies landing at Normandy? (I didn’t, but I do now! That’s so cool! This photo was published in the Omaha World Herald 5/26/2014). The park was created to honor our country’s (and especially our local) wartime military members.
The names of all Douglas County residents who served in WWII are sealed inside the World War II monument. The names of those who lost their lives are listed on those 8 plaques that you see across the front of the curved structure – I counted about 120 names on just one of them.
The Korea-Vietnam Peace Memorial honors service members from the Korean and Vietnam Wars with a cool sculpture of a soldier with a child on his knee “pointing toward the future.” These memorials are reminiscent of the Washington DC war memorials – on a smaller scale of course, but no less heartrending if you take a few minutes to really look at it. The names of the locals who lost their lives in those wars are inscribed on the sides. For me, seeing all those names is a poignant reminder that war is real, and freedom absolutely isn’t free—it never has been and isn’t now. These memorials speak to the unspeakable price that families have paid over the years, right here in Omaha, and I’m so glad that we have it here – so aptly surrounded by a beautiful landscape and open spaces that we are free to enjoy however we wish.
You’re probably thinking, I thought this blog series was supposed to be about active outings - but I say, why not combine some history and learning our more physical activities? Let’s get out there and actively enjoy our freedom! Along with the history lesson, Memorial Park provides tons of (dog-friendly) walking/biking paths, a playground, and baseball diamond. The fabulous sprawling green spaces (67 acres!) make me think, hmmmm… how about frisbee…maybe a game of catch…or YES! KITE-FLYING! …So many possibilities.
Lastly, be sure you don’t miss the rose gardens at the north end of the park, which can be quite spectacular in full bloom with over 1000 rose bushes! (Great place for photos).
I hope you’ll find a few hours to enjoy and be active in Memorial Park this fall, to learn (or remember) a little something about our country’s history, and to give a nod of respect to those who have served our country well - all in one fell swoop!