Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Christmas 2018

This is a repost of what I wrote last year, with a small update or two. It still rings well with me and I'm not sure I could write anything more appropriate this year, so if you missed it enjoy, if you saw it please enjoy once more.

It came upon a midnight clear...

51 years ago tonight, I was on duty somewhere in 'Nam. I can't say I recall doing exactly what, it was just another day to a large extent.

I remember that in base camp they tried to have a special Christmas dinner, but I really don't remember it. I guess it is possible that we were out of port, running up or down the Mekong, I simply cannot remember. What happens to our memories?

I do remember that my parents sent a little Christmas tree. I think maybe it had little lights on it and  at one time I am sure I had a picture, now long gone. I am sure they included various goodies. I do remember that we all gathered around it and completely enjoyed having it sitting on top of my foot locker!

The biggest surprise of that Christmas didn't actually occur on Dec. 25, but several months later.

I finally made it home in April and after the dog went crazy when he saw me get out of the car, and my parents and family all ran out to the street, we all eventually, went in to the house.

And, there, where it always was during my childhood, stood the Christmas tree, all decorated, packages beneath its boughs, waiting for me to come home.

Of course, I have no idea what any of the packages contained, that after all is not what we remember, we remember the feelings, the love and in this case, the relief, of finally being home.

It was indeed special.

This Christmas, or Hanukkah, or Solstice, Kwanzaa, Los Tres Reyes or whatever holy day, holiday, or celebration of new beginnings that you may choose to celebrate remember to take a moment to remember, to be thankful for and to wish them safe home, those, as Mick Jagger calls them, "the common foot soldier, the salt of the earth." You know that while we celebrate with our families and loved ones, hundreds of thousands are pulling duty somewhere, many miles from their homes and loved ones.

Give them a thought.

                                                                                        ...to men of good will!

 Happy holidays to you and yours.

Many of you will know that during the holiday season, I often take a small break from writing about memorials. So, next time, on the 30th, look for something a little different, as usual, at 9:00am.

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

Saturday, December 15, 2018


We came across this most unusual Vietnam memorial while driving through Georgia. I'm not sure I have ever seen anything quite like it.

It sits at the site of an old (1909) cotton mill and has utilized some of the equipment from the mill in the memorial.

It is not specifically Vietnam which is so often the case with memorials in smaller areas.

This section of paver bricks names and honors some of those remembered here.

There are a couple of other features here that I will write about later.

As many of you know at this time of the year I choose not to focus on memorials and post a few other interesting ( I hope) pictures I've found along the way. So, next time join me for something completely different, as always at 9:00am on the 20th.

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

Monday, December 10, 2018

Florida XVI

The west coast of Florida is especially beautiful and Naples is, arguably, one if its highlights.

After some initial difficulty locating the exact location of Cambier Park, Steve and I were delighted to find this memorial among the many sports fields, tennis courts and many other amenities.

 Many wars and heroes are remembered and honored here.

 Vietnam, too, has a dedication section of the wall.

There is another memorial here dedicated to Vietnam that I will write about at a future time.

The memorial is located on the corner of Cambier Park Way and 8th Street South.

Next time, on the 15th, we will return to Georgia, so meet me there at 9:00am.

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

Monday, December 3, 2018

California XXXIV

About 25 miles south of Los Angeles is Carson and located at a busy community center/sports complex, with a pool and other amenities, is this memorial to our lost brothers and sisters.

 It seems completely appropriate that our children and grandchildren be reminded of the sacrifice of the few for the many while they enjoy the freedoms so costly won.

The memorial list a series of names with no designation as to what war they might have participated in listed. I looked up a few and found names from several wars, including Vietnam.

This window display, also, does include artifacts from 'Nam.

The memorial is located at 22400 Moneta Avenue.

Next time, on the 8th, we will revisit Florida, so join me there, as usual, at 9:00am.

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

Monday, November 26, 2018

Arizona XIX

Some of you may recall that a while back I posted pics of a memorial in Anthem, Arizona. The memorial here is a multi-war memorial, which honors all who have served and commemorates all who have been lost.  But, above all, it is a memorial to the signing of the Armistice that ended WWI on November 11, 1918.

I was here in Anthem a few years ago and was struck by the memorial and the fact that at 11 minutes after 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month the sun shines through the apertures in the five steles to illuminate the Great Seal of the United States which rests, awaiting this very moment each year.

I determined when I first visited to return to see this remarkable event. Just as luck would have it, this was the year: exactly 100 years after the signing of the Armistice to end the "War that would end all wars."

I wondered about how crowded the event might be and therefore how difficult it might be to get pictures, so I actually went the day before, hoping that fewer people might be there.

Well, I chose right. We arrived and there were a number of folks with the same idea, but not so many as to make it impossible to get a shot of the exact moment.

I got the photos I wanted and then moved on with the intent to return the next day for the actual ceremonies.

On the 11th, the place was jammed. Hundreds and hundreds of people wanting to be there. There were bands, a choir, speakers and all that one might expect to see. It was humbling.

And, no photography was allowed due to the large numbers, so I really lucked out be coming the day before.

A POW from Vietnam was given an award and I had a chance to speak with him and, not surprisingly, he knows Everett Alvarez, the first pilot shot down over North Vietnam and the longest inhabitant of the infamous Hanoi Hilton. Cmdr. Alvarez lives in my town and I have had the great honor of speaking with him on several occasions. The award was presented on his 90th birthday.

The keynote speaker was Jim Zwit, the only man in his unit who made it home. He has spent much of the rest of his life seeking out the families of his lost buddies and has been successful. His story is quite remarkable and you can find lots about him on line, especially about his chance meeting with a family member of the one guy whose family he could not find. Take a moment and check it out.


So, one more event off the bucket list, I am extremely grateful that I had this opportunity and I recommend that if you are ever in or near Phoenix, you drive a few miles north to anthem and check this out. Not only is the memorial remarkable but it sits in a truly beautiful park, too.

Next time, on the 1st of December, we will return to California, so join me there, as usual, at 9:00am.

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

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Alabama XVI

Autauga County, Alabama has lined their Court House with memorials.

Among there is one specifically to Vietnam.

There are no names listed here, so that can mean that none were lost or that they did not want to omit anyone, so they went for a more general approach.

A little research found 13 names from the Prattville area lost or MIA. I called the city to see if I could track down the info, but got nowhere. Everyone I spoke to was very nice but could not help and some numbers did not answer.

Next time, on the 26th, we will return to Arizona, so meet me there at 9:00am.

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

Friday, November 16, 2018

Wyoming IV

Cheyenne has two memorials and this one is located on the grounds of the Cheyenne Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Nestled in among a few trees it honors the 137 from Wyoming lost in the war.

The medical center is located at 2360 East Pershing blvd.

Just this evening I read that a new miniature replica of The Wall has been constructed inside the medical center. It is 22 inches high by 45 feet long and features 58, 300 names, the number at the time of its construction. Since then, as any long time reader of this site knows, the number has risen to 58,318.

I have located a few more memorials in Wyoming, so I will get back there when I am able.

Next time, on the 21st, we will check back in with Alabama, so join me there at 9:00am, as usual.

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