Mormon Battalion monument

Tucson's monument to the Mormon Battalion.

Courtesy photo

Standing in the middle of downtown Tucson, not far from the Pima County Courthouse, is the monument to the Mormon Battalion, remembering the first time the United States military came to the Old Pueblo in 1846. They were the only religious unit to serve in the American military and their trek of 2,000 miles was the longest continual march in U.S. history.

A number of the 500 men, women, and children were impressed with what they saw in Arizona. One of them, Erastus Bingham, returned with his family years later and settled in the area along the Rillito River, which was running in those days, near Ft. Lowell and Alvernon Roads.  In the early 1900’s, many of the Mormon pioneers that came to Tucson were refugees, chased out of Northern Mexico by Pancho Villa. The Binghams welcomed them, helped them start their own farms and join their community, which became known as Binghampton.

The event will include music throughout the day, culminating at 2 p.m. with the traditional Veterans Day weekend performance by the 4th Cavalry Regimental Band. The re-enactors of the original 1884 band will be followed by a presentation by Ted Vogt, Director of the State of Arizona Department of Veterans Services who will honor Tucson’s Veterans. The Festival will conclude with the striking of the colors, the old 38 star flag representing the number of states at the time the Fort Lowell was in service.

The activity is planned for Saturday, November 9, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Ft. Lowell Park at 2900 N. Craycroft Road. Individuals interested in volunteering or providing frontier demonstrations are encouraged to contact Randy Madsen at (858) 395-0552.

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