A group of Mexican-American women who had lost their sons in World War II commissioned the sculpture and memorial’s construction in 1951.
“El Soldado,” a small statue of a 1940s-era infantryman, stands across from the Capitol near the fountain between the Library and Courts building and the Legislative office building.
Officials moved the statue to its present location in 1975. In 1985, legislation sponsored by former state Assembly Member Richard Polanco ceded the state grounds to the memorial and authorized its expansion.
Since then, a group has been raising funds for a new memorial, which would include the names of the approximately 3,000 Latino soldiers from California who have died in the armed forces since World War I, as well as space for future Mexican-Americans who may give their lives in war.