The California Mexican-American Veterans Memorial, known as El Soldado, is unique among the many memorials dedicated to war veterans both in Sacramento's Capitol Park and throughout the United States. The statue was established and funded by the mothers and wives of California's Mexican-American soldiers who had fallen during WWII. Creating "La Sociedad de Madres" (Society of Mothers) in 1948, these hard working women remained on task for many years, hosting fundraisers until they were able to raise enough money to buy the marble stone carved statue from Italy for $4000.
Originally placed in 1951, at what was once Sacramento's Mexican-American Center, the statue was moved in the 1970s, then relocated again to its current location facing the State's Capitol in 1990.
El Soldado was removed from his pedestal at the corner of 10th Street and Capitol Mall on September 1, 2016. The statue spent several months at Ruhkala Monument in Rocklin, where experts fixed his broken rifle and cleaned off years of dirt and mold.
Shortly after removal, CalVet and the Department of General Services began a year-long expansion project of the memorial's plaza. Improvements include enlarging the pedestal and installing pathways connecting the memorial to a new sidewalk that runs along the California State Treasure's office building.
Phase one of this long-awaited beautification project is now complete.