Proclamation for The 75th Anniversary Year of War Memorial Stadium

WHEREAS:  2023 commemorates the 75th anniversary of War Memorial Stadium, dedicated in 1948 as a tribute to Arkansans who had given their lives in the service of their country during the two world wars;
WHEREAS:  Over time, War Memorial Stadium has evolved into an active tribute to all Arkansans who have served and paid the ultimate price for their country;
WHEREAS:  In 1947, the state legislature passed Act 249 to purchase $500,000 in stadium commission bonds to help finance the construction of the stadium;
WHEREAS:  On September 18, 1948, Medal of Honor recipient and former Razorback, Maurice “Footsie” Britt dedicated the stadium in “the memory of her native sons and daughters who have given so much that we might have our freedom”;
WHEREAS:  Over the years, military personnel have been honored at War Memorial Stadium through programs, tributes, and monuments;
WHEREAS:  The first event at the stadium in 1948 was a University of Arkansas football game, and the venue has since hosted more than 200 Razorback football games with 152 victories;
WHEREAS:  War Memorial Stadium opened with an original seating capacity of 31,000. The stadium’s seating capacity increased to accommodate 53,727 in 1967 and again in 2010 to 54,120;
WHEREAS:  War Memorial Stadium has hosted President Harry S. Truman, comedian Bob Hope, and the Reverend Billy Graham;
WHEREAS:  War Memorial Stadium has welcomed world-renowned musical artists such as Elton John, Billy Joel, the Eagles, the Rolling Stones, George Strait, N’Sync, and Guns ‘n Roses, drawing tens of thousands of fans for each show;
WHEREAS:  War Memorial Stadium was listed on the Arkansas Register of Historic Places in 1998;
WHEREAS:  In celebration of the stadium’s 60th anniversary and as part of its rededication, the Sturgis Veterans Plaza opened in 2008 on the stadium’s northwest side as a place of remembrance and reflection. The plaza includes a 25-foot “Stars and Stripes” sculpture designed by Kathleen Caricof;
WHEREAS:  In addition to the University of Arkansas, Arkansas State University, the University of Central Arkansas, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, and Hendrix College have hosted sporting events at War Memorial Stadium;
WHEREAS:  The Little Rock Rangers soccer team, a member of the National Premier Soccer League, calls War Memorial Stadium its home;
WHEREAS:  War Memorial Stadium serves as host to the prestigious NJCAA Football Championships; and
WHEREAS:  War Memorial Stadium has played a significant role in the culture of the Natural State as a symbol of the collective pride of Arkansans in their war veterans, as well as collective pride in the State of Arkansas, and the Razorbacks, as its playing field in central Arkansas.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, Governor of the State of Arkansas, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the laws of the State of Arkansas, do hereby proclaim 2023 as:


IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of Arkansas to be affixed this 25th day of August, in the year of our Lord 2023.