Thursday, December 22, 2011
Story of WWII Veteran and Native Son Now Part of AZ Memory Project
Phoenix College's Raul Castro Institute and Latino Perspectives Magazine commissioned booklet on the late Arthur Van Haren, Jr., ace fighter pilot
(PHOENIX, Ariz., Dec. 22, 2011) – The lifetime accomplishments of the late Arthur Van Haren, Jr., a World War II ace fighter pilot and one of Arizona’s most decorated military pilots, is now available through the Arizona Memory Project, which was created by the Arizona State Library as part of the state’s 2012 centennial celebration.
Van Haren’s life story was chronicled in a booklet commissioned by Phoenix College’s Raul Castro Institute and Latino Perspectives Magazine and released to the public in November.
“It’s a wonderfully inspiring life story,” said Richard Prouty, manager of the Arizona Memory Project for the Arizona State Library. “We’re delighted to have the opportunity to distribute these important documents referencing Latino and Latina contributions to Arizona culture and history.”
As part of the distribution effort, the copies of the booklet have been sent to county librarians throughout the state and should be available in the state’s public and other libraries soon, if not already.
Archiving the accomplishments Lt. Van Haren comes shortly after the Raul H. Castro Institute, Latino Perspectives Magazine and Salt River Project saluted Lt. Van Haren at the 4th Annual “Honoring Those Who Serve” luncheon banquet November 16, 2011, at the Wyndham Hotel in downtown Phoenix.
The event honored his accomplishments as a World War II fighter pilot ace and a decorated member of the Navy’s “Flying Rippers.” Lt. Van Haren downed at least 9 Japanese Zero fighter planes during his service in the Pacific theater.
With the Van Haren family on hand, the event praised the Arizona native as well as other veterans and first responders from the local area for their contributions to society.
During her welcoming remarks, Phoenix College President Dr. Anna Solley, said, “Perhaps the best way we can repay our debt to them is to tell their stories in order to inspire a new generation of leaders to serve our country and our state.”
Diane Halvorson, daughter of Lt. Van Haren, captured the spirit of the event in her remarks: "Thank you for capturing the man he was, the service he did for his country during World War II, what he went through, and the best part of who he became," she said.
Among those present were City of Phoenix Mayor- elect Greg Stanton and new Phoenix Councilman-elect Daniel Valenzuela. The event was emceed by CBS 5 News Anchor Catherine Anaya and City of Phoenix Manager David Cavazos.