Public Art: Joe P Martinez Memorial
Sculptor: © Emanuel Martinez
Description: Mounted atop an exotic decorative stone pedestal made from Baltic Brownstone ( from Finland) stands the bronze figure of Joe P Martinez, a World War II hero. Martinez, who is dressed in his army uniform, holds his gun as if ready for the enemy to appear.
Location: In the Lincoln Park, State Capitol grounds between 14th and East Colfax Avenues, Denver, Colorado, United States.
Commissioned by: Unknown
Background: Joe Pantillion Martinez (July 27nd, 1920 – 26th May 1943) was born at Taos, New Mexico. He was the first Hispanic, the first drafted enlisted man, and the first Weld County serviceman to receive the military’s highest award, the Congressional Medal of Honor, in World War II.
As a private in the U.S. Army’s 32nd Infantry, Joe led his company against the Japanese, who were entrenched on Attu Island (an island off the coast of Alaska), in 1943. Joe virtually single-handedly destroyed several machine gun nests that had pinned down his battalion. The terrain was steep and covered in snow but Joe encouraged his men to fight on. His catch cry, which was later put on US bonds, was “Come on let’s go”. As he reached the top of the pass he was mortally wounded. His actions, however, paved the way for an American victory.
Dedicated to Honor Private
Joe P. Martinez
Colorado’s First Congressional Medal
of Honor Recipient of World War II
Erected July 1988 Sculptor Emanuel Martinez
Interesting Facts: In Colorado, there are two other statues erected in Joe P Martinez’s honor one in Ault (his hometown) and the other in Greeley.