Statue Honoring Fort Smith General Moving Forward

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Plans are moving forward to forever honor a highly decorated World War II hero from Fort Smith, General William O. Darby.

Friday, Liz Armstrong announced the launch of the General Darby Legacy Project fundraising program to pay for a bronze statue of Darby to be built in Fort Smith.

"He graduated from high school here [in Fort Smith] before going on to West Point, and went on to become a national hero," Sebastian County Judge Jim Spears said.

"I think its very important for Fort Smith and for the students in Fort Smith to see what type of legacy that we have of a person who has really changed the world," Armstrong said.

Armstrong said she feels the statue is something long overdue, but that she's excited that the project is in the works.

"He is the father of the modern-day Army US Rangers and they were instrumental in WWII, especially during the taking of Cisterna and Italy," Armstrong said. "He is just revered by all rangers of all eras."

Darby was killed in action in 1945. He was 34 years old. Now, his body is laid to rest in Fort Smith at the National Cemetery among thousands of others who fought to protect the country`s freedom.

"He was destined to have so much of a greater career, and it was cut short," Armstrong said.

Darby received three Purple Hearts, two Distinguished Service Crosses, the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit, the Russian Order of Kutuzov and the French Croix de Guerre for his service in WWII.

Thursday, Feb. 5, the Senate backed a resolution working to honor the memory of Darby. The city of Fort Smith has also shown their support for the organizations' plans to honor him.

Before the monument can be built, the General Darby Legacy Project needs to raise just under $200,000.

If you're interested in learning more about the General Darby Legacy Project or donating to the cause, CLICK HERE.