Saturday, April 19, 2014

Florida VII

If you have been following this journey of mine for any time at all, I imagine you might understand that every so often, just by chance, something occurs that is so emotional and moving that it screams to be shared. Just such an incident happen on my recent visit to Florida.

I visited a memorial in Ft. Myers. It had been raining all morning and I really didn't expect to be able to take any good pictures, but as we arrived the rain stopped. Kismet, I thought and hurried to visit the site before the rain kicked in once again, which it did shortly thereafter.

The memorial consists of three, side by side, "walls" listing those from the five counties surrounding the site. Very nice, but nothing too out of the ordinary. I read the names and took a a number of shots of the site, but then as I started to leave, I noticed something.

In front of the three walls is a Field Cross and, as you know, these are often seen. This one, however, was different. Attached to it was a typed note, you can see that in the photos, but what was different was how it was attached. It took a minute for the realization to hit me and it struck like a thunderbolt. Here was some vet honoring those who were lost on this particular day so long ago. All these years later, he went out of his way to come here, to this site in Ft. Myers, and once more honor his buddies. He attached the paper to the rifle in the Field Cross with the mechanical hand from his artificial limb!

I was dumbfounded. This was something I have never seen. It is not unusual to visit a site and find something, a memento, a picture, a flower, or something, left by a loved one, but this was unique.

A little later, I realized that the paper had been dry. It had been raining all morning and ceased just as we arrived, so I must have missed this guy by just minutes. At first I was disappointed, I would have loved to welcome him home and hear his story, but now after a few days I think that this was a very private moment for him and I am glad I did not intrude.

This memorial is located on the corner of Colonial blvd. and McGregor Blvd. in ft. Myers.

Next time, on the 24th, return with me to Alabama.

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

Monday, April 14, 2014

Wyoming II

This memorial originally honored 5 University alumni, that number grew to 17 when I was there. It was recently refurbished and rededicated. The front has been replaced with a new larger plaque that lists 132 names of those lost from Wyoming.

Top detail

A Veterans Service Center has been established, on campus, so that no returning vet today will have the same difficulties returning Vietnam vets encountered

 A nearby bench offers a respite from the day and invites quiet contemplation and remembrance.

Found on the southwest corner of the campus, at 9th and Ivinson streets it is now the site of annual Welcome Home ceremonies.

Next time,on April 19, meet me in Florida at 9:00am.

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

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Due west of Milwaukee, about 27 miles, is the city of Delafield, Wisconsin. What I found there was quite remarkable.

The city has built a River Walk that is the Wisconsin Veterans Memorial. As you walk along the site you come upon many placards telling the history of a particular war. The 10 sites begin with the American Revolution and continue through the Global War On terror.

Some have pavers with dedicated names upon them and others have flags or other tributes.

The walk parallels the Bark River and to follow the sites in chronological order you should begin at the St. John's Park entrance where there is a small parking area.

There are a number of these personal pavers at this site.

Next time, we will travel, once again, to Wyoming, so join me, as usual,at 9:00am on the 14th of April.

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

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Virginia VII

I returned to the Marine Museum in Triangle, Virginia to explore the numerous monuments they have along the beautiful walkway.

Note the name places along the lower side.

Nearly all of the monuments are dedicated to one unit or another, but this one stuck me as a bit unusual. Nowhere on it does the word Vietnam ever appear. All of the noted losses are from the era, but if you didn't recognize some of the places named along each side, you might never know.

All of the losses recorded here are from 1967-1969

More name places on this side, too.

Many are listed on tribute bricks surrounding the site.

Located near the Marine base at Quantico, Virginia, the site is easily seen from the road and is well marked off route 95, south of Washington, D.C.

I will post other monuments from this incredible site in future posts.

Next time, we will return to Wisconsin, so join me there as always at 9:00am on the 10th of April.

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

Monday, March 31, 2014

Vermont VI

Cruising the back roads of Vermont is a pleasure unto itself, but I was very pleased to find this memorial in Bridgewater. It commemorates many from various wars and a number from Vietnam are among them all. Located at the intersection of U.S. 4 and north Bridgewater Road it marks the war from December 22, 1961. Experience has taught me that many places start the beginning of the war on the day they lost their first hero.

The names here are alphabetically listed and I see no designation as to lost or missing, so the December 1961 date is a mystery to me

Many memorials have tributes or poetry as part of their appeal, but I particularly like the one found here.

I don't have a clue as to what the B US. 6 means, anyone have any idea?

Next time, on the 5th of April, meet me in Virginia, as always at 9:00am.

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

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Texas IX

Located with the model of the new Vietnam memorial in the LBJ Library was an unexpected surprise.

Two Vietnam vets created replica dog tags for every Texan lost in Vietnam; all 3417 of them. Hanging in alphabetical order they include the 105 MIAs (as of 2012) and two extra blank tags for those "known only to God." All of the names are listed on the bottom, shelf like portion of the display to help name seekers locate their loved ones. In truth, they created two complete sets, one of which will be forever enshrined inside the new memorial when it is completed. As I mentioned in the last post from LBJ, the new memorial will be dedicated on March 29th, 2014, just three days after this post will appear.

I have read a number of times about a display of more than 58,000 tags in Chicago, but when I was there it was not available to the public, so I was really quite pleased to discover this one in Austin. This one is, indeed, smaller, but perhaps more intimate and meaningful to our brothers and sisters in Texas.

The display tells the story of the exhibit and highlights the first and last Texan lost. the first, M Sgt. Chester M. Orvand was lost in 1959 and the last, PFC Antonio R. Sandoval, was lost in 1975.

There are several areas of text and information at the site. This one tells how the legacy of Vietnam haunts Americans and our leaders but I can't help but wonder if that is still the case?

The logo, seen throughout the display, depicts, in its center, the new memorial.

Next time, on the 31st, we will return to Vermont, so join me at 9:00am.

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

Friday, March 21, 2014

Texas VIII

I read a number of stories about a new memorial being built on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol in Austin. So, it was with great anticipation that I finally got there a few months after it was to have been started. I was disappointed to find not so much as a hole in the ground when I visited. An employee at the Capitol explained that there had been some difficulties and that as recently as the day before I was there a meeting had been held to iron these out and to get the project rolling.

That very night I was reading a local publication and discovered that a mock-up of the memorial was on display at the LBJ Library. I went there the next day and these pictures are from that visit.

Originally, an additional soldier was to have been included in this memorial. He was to have been a Vietnamese soldier, but in the end it was decided to omit him.

The destruction and devastation of a country and culture are depicted in some of the detail from this sculpture. There are scenes of river patrols, choppers in flight, and other typical in-country activity around the base.

Detail of one of the five soldiers

Even though the RVN soldier was omitted, the Vietnamese dragon highlights one of the depictions on the base.

Tonight, I checked again and discovered that the new memorial is to be dedicated on March 29th, 2014, so this posting is particularly timely.

In the next posting, on March 26th, I'll feature a real surprise that I found at the LBJ Library. Check it out at 9:00am, as always.

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