Monday, April 24, 2017

Oregon XV

South Eugene High School lost 11 of her own in Vietnam.



In about 2005 it was decided that they should be remembered. A classmate and war vet wanted to remember his friends and place a plaque in a garden area at the front of the school. There was some concern that a memorial might glorify war, but the vet himself had joined Vietnam Veterans Against the War upon his return and wanted the memorial to not only honor his lost friends but serve, too as a constant reminder of the real costs of war.



The day I was there the weather was dismal: cold, rainy, just unpleasant, but it was the day I had, so I took some pics and hoped for the best.


As you can see, the rain made clear pics nearly impossible. This one of the problems I often encounter. Many of these memorials are designed to be reflective, to draw you in, to force you to see yourself and think. On the other hand, when it is raining, especially, the reflections actually obscure the memorial itself. I have been fighting this battle for years now and have not found a satisfactory solution.

Here are the names that are so hard to read on the plaque:

 WILLIAM R. ANDREWS
ROBERT K. COLLINS
JAMES W. CARTWRIGHT
WILLIAM G. MUIR
CARL F. LOUVRING
WILLIAM A. BECKWITH
ARTHUR A. ERWIN
KREG A. VIESTENZ
DENNIS E. MICKELSON
CARLTON COE GRAY
JAMES R. COLZ


The people at the High School were very nice, receptive and interested in my project and we visited fro quite some time. I noted that none of them were old enough to remember any of the students or, for that matter, Vietnam. Time passes making this project and journey, at least to me, even more important.





Next time, on the 29th, we will take another look at Pennsylvania, so join me there, as always, at 9:00am.

To see other memorials from Oregon, or any other state, click the state name on the left side of this page,


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

New York XII

Once again, I find myself in wonder. I visited this fairly elaborate memorial in Hicksville, New York and yet I can find nothing about it on line. All searches take me to Hicksville, Ohio, or to East Meadows where there is a great memorial in Eisenhower Park. I have written about that one previously. I have tried to contact the local newspaper, to no avail.


I had gone to Hicksville to see a memorial that turned out to be a part of a funeral home and the man there asked if I knew the one at the local school? I had not heard about this one and he took me out back and pointed just a block or two away from where we were standing.



If memory serves me (always doubtful) it stands on the grounds of the Hicksville Middle School.




The Veterans Memorial Park is dedicated to many veterans from many wars including our comrades from Vietnam.

Next time, on the 24th, we revisit Oregon, so as always, join me there at 9:00am.

To see additional memorial from New York, or any other state, click on the state name on the left side of this page.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Nebraska XIII

While simply wandering around Nebraska, I stopped in a town hall and asked about a local memorial. while there the nice young woman I was speaking to asked if I was aware of the one in Pierce, her home town? I was not, so she gave me directions on how to find it.


It was only about 30 miles away and what a great find. Several Walls covered with names of those who served from the area.




There are literally hundreds of names that served in 'Nam and I was able to find just one who was lost.




It is extremely rare to find a memorial that has not had names added after the site was dedicated. We are working on a memorial in my town and are working very hard to have it be complete and inclusive. We will see how that works out.


Listed down the right side of the "V" are WWII, Vietnam, Grenada, and Persian Gulf.


It is hard to see in these pics, but Grenada is misspelled (Granada), this stuff happens and there are no easy solutions in stone. I saw a memorial in York, Pennsylvania where a soldiers name had been misspelled and they decided to carve it again, in a slightly different place, correctly.

Located at Brown and Court Streets this memorial is easy to find and there is plenty of parking.

Next time, on the19th, we return to New York, so meet me there at 9:00am.

To see other memorials from Nebraska, or any other state, click the state name on the left side of this page.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Maryland XIV

When I came home from 'Nam, I knew I wanted to go to school. I had seen far too many guys in the Army who just had no other choices and I didn't want that. I learned that I simply had to know more, or at least have pieces of paper, that said I knew more, if I wanted more control over my life.

No one in my immediate family had graduated from college, although education among Irish-Americans was considered mandatory. The reasons for that are many and often complicated and not for this particular site, but I heard from the time I could understand that"You will go to college..." There was no money for this and none available to save, so how this was supposed to happen was never discussed. I did hear things like "You'll have to win a scholarship" and such, but that didn't happen.

So, the Army, that is, the G.I. Bill provided for the possibility and my experiences in the Army provided the incentive.

I went to the local Community College first and after some bumps in the road graduated and then transferred to the University of Maryland, where I finished up.

I went back to the University in conjunction with the ABC7 news feature on this project, which aired recently.

The memorial at the University sits next to the Chapel which can be accessed from Route 1 in College Park, Md.



 It is elegant in its simplicity: a wall, two stone benches and a plaque upon a pedestal.




There are no names listed and I wonder why that is and how many of my fellow students served and how many were lost.


The late 60's and early 70's were turbulent times in the nation and this was reflected at the University. The National Guard was on campus and tension ran high, this may, or may not, have influenced the thinking behind the memorial. It certainly is reflected in the dedication phrase "...all who were touched by the fire of Vietnam..."

As I stood there, looking at it, I recalled that just weeks after my return RFK was killed in California and that all leaves, passes etc were cancelled as we were all turned out for riot training. Those of us just returned could not believe this was happening, that we were being asked to turn our weapons on our fellow citizens. I was stationed very near Washington DC and for several weekends all my fellow soldiers were actually sent to DC to try to control the rage and pain of DC's citizens. It was not pretty. I belonged to Headquarters and Headquarters Company and I believe we were the only company that did not travel up to DC for riot duty, after all, somebody had to turn the lights off back at the fort!

Anyway, I am glad I finally made it back to see the site.

If you would like to see the ABC7 feature, go here:

http://wjla.com/features/abc7-stories/a-means-to-heal-vietnam-vet-takes-thousands-of-photos-at-war-memorials-in-all-50-states

Next time, on the 14th, we will take another trip to Nebraska, so join me there at 9:00am.

To see additional memorials from Maryland, or any other state, click the state name on the left side of this page.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Maine XI

Phippsburg lies about 7 miles south of Bath where the Navy builds some of her ships.


Founded in 1759 it has certainly witnessed much of America's history.



This Veterans and Mariners Park, right next to the Town Hall, honors those who have served the town and our country and commemorates the lost from the Revolutionary War through Desert Storm.



It may just be the most rustic site I have visited and I really like what they have done here. To me it represents the ruggedness of the area and the people whom it honors.



Note the dates on the Vietnam section of this memorial. I could find no explanation, but sometimes, at least, these unusual dates mark when the first from the area was lost. There are no designation here about KIA/MIA, so, I guess we may never know.


 Next time, on the 9th, we will revisit Maryland, so, as always, join me there at 9:00am.

To see other memorials from Maine, or any other state, click the state name on the left side of this page.






Thursday, March 30, 2017

Louisiana XII

So, here is the previously promised post from Louisiana.

On one of first trips to Louisiana, I drove around to a couple of spots I knew of and then just wandered a bit. Came across this memorial in Thibodaux.


It is a multi-war memorial, but as always our Vietnam brothers and sisters are remembered.



Nestled into ball fields and other recreational facilities it stands as a constant, enduring reminder of the sacrifices of the few for the many.



As I was leaving, dusk began to fall and created these beautiful skies.



The park, called Heroes Park is located at 900-1898 Veterans Blvd.

Next time, on the 4th of April, we will return to Maine, so, join me there at 9:00am.

To see other memorials from Louisiana, or any other state, click the state name on the left side of this page.



Saturday, March 25, 2017

Honor and Gratitude II



I know I said, last time, that we would visit Louisiana today, but I just got this great news and wanted to share it with you.
 
Some of you are aware that I was honored to be a small part of a documentary that was made by MCTV (Montgomery College TV) by Barbara Grunbaum and Dan Rankin.

This film was part of an overall Montgomery County, Maryland celebration and recognition of the County's thousands of Vietnam veteran.

A welcome home was held at the Universities of Shady Grove and among the presentations were clips from the upcoming film. There was a motorcycle rally and many distinguished speakers, including Bob Schieffer (CBS News) as the Master of Ceremonies. The five living POW's from the County were present and were honored, too. Sadly one of them, Mr. Fred Cherry, has passed away since the event. I was told that this event was the first time since their return from North Vietnam that these five men had been in the same room together! Another was Everett Alvarez, the first U.S. pilot shot down and the longest resident of the infamous Hanoi Hilton. It was an honor to meet them all.

A few months later, the film was previewed for the vets involved and the general public at Montgomery College in Silver Spring. Most of those featured in the film were present and participated in a Q and A after the showing. It was truly a wonderful and remarkable day.

So, later the film was entered in contest sponsored by NATOA (National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors and was chosen as one of the three top films of the year for Excellence in Broadcasting. We did not know its rank in the top three until much later, after the awards ceremony.

Now, I couldn't be more proud to tell you that it was selected as the best film of the year.

If you are interested, you can view it here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3OAnvShg-0&feature=youtu.be

I want to take just one more opportunity to thank Barbara, Dan and everyone involved for their tireless work, respect, and unflagging dedication to telling this story and to congratulate them on their well deserved win at the NATOA, you have honored us all.

Next time on the 30th, we will visit Louisiana, so, as always join me there at 9:00am.

To see Vietnam memorials from every state in the union, click a state name on the left side of this page.