Saturday, June 24, 2017

Georgia

Last week I returned to Atlanta to find an eternal flame about which I had read an article. As so often seems to be the case when researching these things the info I had turned out to be incorrect. After driving somewhat aimlessly for a bit, I decided to go into the capitol building itself and see if I could get some more accurate information.

The original article said that the flame was on the grounds of the capitol building but after circumventing it and not finding it, just to be sure, I went in side.

The Georgia State Trooper manning the desk could not have been nicer, but he was a bit unsure about what I was looking for so he called over his colleague and we determined that it was not far away and they gave me directions.

His help took me, once again, to the Pete Wheeler Georgia War Veterans Memorial Plaza where the Georgia Vietnam memorial is located. It turns out that the flame had been relocated some time fairly recently.I have written, previously about the Georgia Vietnam memorial and Pete Wheeler and you can find that elsewhere on this site.



Also, to my great surprise, we came upon the original Georgia Vietnam memorial, now located, too, at the same site. I am always thrilled when I find something I didn't expect on this journey.



This nearby sign gives some explanation.


Adjacent to this historic memorial is the eternal flame that began this particular journey. Each of the four faces honors a different war.


When I first visited this site a number of years ago it was so cold I had trouble getting shots that I liked. This time the new photos of the Georgia Vietnam Memorial are better and perhaps I will post them here in the future.

For now, next time we will make a trio back to Maryland, so join me there as usual at 9:00am on the 29th of June.

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

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Connecticut XII


Windsor Locks, Connecticut is one of those very few towns that builds memorials even if they have not lost anyone in the war.


This memorial, dedicated to those that served, sits at Memorial Hall on the corner of Ct 140 and Ct 159 in Windsor Locks, among several others that do list the names of their lost.


Just recently, however, I ran across a name not, as I said, listed, so I feel it is appropriate to list it here.

SMAJ John R. Hubbard


Oddly, as I read the names of those that served on the plaque, I did not find SMAJ Hubbard's name. These things happen as I have mentioned in other posts. I have rarely, if ever, seen a memorial that has not been updated after its completion. I mentioned a few posts back that three more names were added to The Wall this past May (2017) bringing the total to 58,318. the Wall was dedicated in 1982, so we have been correcting it ever since, 37 years and we do not know if these last three will be the last, probably not.


Next time, on the 23rd, I will have just returned from Georgia and Alabama so I hope to have some new pictures for you. So, join me then, on the 23rd at 9:00am to see if I found anything new.

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

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Colorado XXVI

I was cruising through Colorado and came upon the town of Olathe and for some reason I turned down a street and found the American Legion. I decided to ask if they were aware of any memorials in the area, but found no one on site. I walked around behind the building and found this memorial.


It lists and honors all from the area who have served their country and while no designations were made as to which wars these guys fought in, certainly some of them had to have served in 'Nam.


The only thing, other than names, were the service designations across the top and American Legion badges.


The American Legion post is located on this corner in Olathe, Colorado.


Next time, on the 13th, we will take another trip to Connecticut, so join me there at 9:00am.

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

Thursday, June 8, 2017

California XVIII

I just needed to stop for a bit so I took the next exit and pulled into a town called Visalia. Driving down Mineral King Avenue I saw a sign for the Convention Center and I pulled in to ask about the area. I discovered that the Center had a Vietnam memorial on site. I couldn't believe my luck, except as I have said before, these things happen too often for me to explain.


The memorial is not visible from the street and is located in a open area created by several parts of the building, a courtyard, I guess.


A whole wall of one of the building s has been painted with a huge mural depicting all the services, POW's, field Crosses and a large flag. It is really quite beautiful.


Standing in front of the wall is a stone marker naming the site: A generation Forever Changed.

Also, note the single name of a son lost to the war. Over and over and over again, I have marveled and been deeply touched by what some small towns (129K in this example) do for their lost, even just one guy: Victor Pietroforte.


These are just a couple of shots of some of the detail of the mural.




Visalia is about 190 miles north of Los Angeles.

Next time, on the 13th, we will return to Colorado, so, join me there at 9:00am.

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

Saturday, June 3, 2017

The Wall of Faces

I know I said we would be visiting California today in my last post, but first, this!

In keeping with a Memorial Day theme, I want to bring this to your attention.

Rhode Island is the most recent state to complete its search for photos of  every name from the state on The Wall, making it number 21.

All of the following is taken directly from the VVMF Wall of Faces page.

"Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund’s Wall of Faces effort aims to put a face to the more than 58,318 names inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Submitted photos are currently seen on VVMF's Wall of Faces, where family and friends can share memories, remembrances, and photos. Putting a face to every name helps further preserve the legacies of all the service members with names inscribed on The Wall. 

VVMF has dedicated Wall of Faces volunteers around the country who help locate photos of those who served and sacrificed. U.S. Army veteran Bryan Simmons began searching for photos for the Wall of Faces in 2013 and became an integral part of Rhode Island’s success. Simmons is from Attleboro, Massachusetts, which borders Rhode Island. He began writing editorials to help spread the word about the photo collection effort. After he wrote an editorial for the Providence Journal, he was contacted by Joe Cichon, a retired teacher at Bishop Hendricken High School. During his years as a teacher, Cichon taught a class on the Vietnam War where his students were tasked with gathering information, photos and stories about a Rhode Island service member. Cichon agreed to let Simmons borrow their research collection and 73 photos were uploaded to the Wall of Faces.
Simmons continued researching on his own and has since found more than 960 photos from across the country.

“Being a Veteran myself, I can't imagine anyone could make a sacrifice and only be remembered as a silhouette,” he said. “I felt researching the photos was something I could do to show people still remember.”

To date, more than 51,000 photos have been collected for the Wall of Faces and fewer than 7,000 photos are still needed to complete the effort. Rhode Island joins 20 other states in finding every photo for their fallen. The completed states include:

Alaska
Colorado
Delaware
Hawaii
Idaho
Kansas
Maryland
Minnesota
Mississippi
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Mexico
North Dakota
Oregon
Rhode Island
South Dakota
Utah
Washington
Wisconsin
Wyoming

If you have a picture of a loved one or fellow veteran whose name is on The Wall, please help VVMF honor these individuals by submitting a photo. VVMF encourages the public to submit as many photos of each service member as possible.

Along with the virtual Wall of Faces, photos and stories of the more than 58,000 veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice during the Vietnam War will also be displayed at the future Education Center at The Wall."


You may reach VVMF's office by telephone at 202-393-0090 or by email at vvmf@vvmf.org.
Fax number is 571-257-8808.
Located at:
1235 South Clark Street, Suite 910
Arlington, VA  22202

Next time, on the 8th, we will return to California, so join me there at 9:00am.

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

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day 2017

I posted this last year, but I feel that it bears repeating


Stop Saying "HAPPY Memorial Day"
By Jeff Seeber

I hope I live long enough to be able to get through the month of May just once without some moron sending me a Happy Memorial Day e-mail or hearing some idiot wishing people a Happy Memorial Day.

It's bad enough I'm reminded every May and every November that very few Americans know the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day, but expecting me to remain silent about the growing trend to turn Memorial Day into some sort of celebration is asking too much. I usually chagrin and bear it, but I'm getting too old to care who I piss off from one day to the next, so if you're one of those fools who sends me a Happy Memorial Day e-mail or wishes people a Happy Memorial Day, listen up!

There is nothing Happy about Memorial Day. That's why it's called M-e-m-o-r-i-a-l Day! Memorial Day is to be commemorated, not celebrated. Memorial Day is supposed to be a day of quiet reflection, remembrance, tribute and rendering honors to those who have given their lives ensuring you nitwits can have the freedom to be able to take full advantage of the rights their deaths secured for you, one of which is the freedom to make ignorant statements like Happy Memorial Day.

Believe it or not, Memorial Day was not placed on calendars to remind you that summer has officially begun. Memorial Day is not the first day of Get Drunk While Pretending To Be An Outdoorsman At Your Cabin season. Memorial Day was not created by General Motors so their dealerships could have a Three-Day Used Car Clearance Blowout. Memorial Day is not intended to be the first day of National Burn That Burger Month.

Memorial Day is supposed to be commemorated on May 30th ... not May 28th, May 29th or May 31st. It makes no difference what day of the week the 30th falls, that's when Memorial Day is supposed to be observed. However, the United States Congress changed the date in 1971 to the last Monday in May to give Americans yet another 3-day weekend. After all, what's more important ... one-hundred-plus years of American tradition or giving Americans one more 3-day weekend to have a few brewskis while driving to see Yellowstone with the wife and kids?

The National Moment of Remembrance was started to encourage all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation. Of course, it's been a dismal failure. I mean, c'mon, you expect Americans to pause for an ENTIRE MINUTE to remember those who died serving the people who are too busy to pause for ONE ENTIRE MINUTE? Are you nuts?

It's bad enough American Civics is no longer taught in American schools. It's bad enough most Americans ignore Armed Forces Day. It's bad enough that very few civilians know that May is National Military Family Appreciation Month. It's bad enough few Americans understand that Veterans Day is now intended to honor all those who have worn a uniform serving in this nation's Military, especially those still living. But it's pitiful that most Americans can't seem to comprehend that Memorial Day is the one day a year when we are asked to remember those who gave their lives for this country.

Let me repeat that ... they gave their LIVES. Most of them were teenagers or in their twenties. Many of them left behind a spouse after being married for a very short period of time. Some of them left behind infant children who grew up never knowing one of the two people who brought them into this world with the good fortune of being born a free person. All of them had plans for a full and long life, but they interrupted those plans because they knew that serving their country, and the risks that commitment entails, was more important than life itself.

Their dreams and their expectations ended suddenly on a battlefield in some foreign land, or in a training accident at home or abroad, or during a secret mission to ensure this country is not attacked without warning. Some of them are buried in unmarked graves on foreign soil or rest forever in the sea. Some became missing in the fog of war and will never be accounted for.

Is it too much to ask that Americans pause for one day every year to recognize those who gave the last full measure of devotion? Are we as a nation so selfish, so lazy, so ignorant of the reality of the price of freedom, that we can't set aside even one day to acknowledge the sacrifice of each and every one of our honorable dead? Apparently it is too much to ask. Apparently expecting Americans to relinquish even one day of basking in the sun while swilling beer is too much of an imposition. Let's face it, most Americans prefer a Happy Memorial Day.

For those of us who served, and for the families and friends of those who gave their lives, Memorial Day will always be the one day a year when we publicly honor our buddies, our brothers, our sisters, our sons, our daughters, our fathers, our mothers, our nieces and nephews, our cousins ... all those who perished, their young lives cut short, while serving America ... while fighting next to us ... while protecting you. The rest of the year, we remember them in private. We remember them daily. We will never forget them.

To simplify all of this:
Armed forces Day, the third Saturday of May and it honors those serving.
Memorial Day, Last Monday in May and it honors those that died while serving
Veterans Day, November 11 and it honors those who served.

From Mike in 2017:

I would like to add to this, that To remember is why hundreds of thousands of bikers, many, many of them vets, ride to The Wall each Memorial Day in what is called "Rolling Thunder." They are riding today, the 29th and I hope to be among them, but if I cannot, I will certainly be with them in spirit, memorializing the 59, 315* names on The Wall.

Next time we will return to California, so meet me there at 9:00am on the 3rd of June.

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


Since I wrote the above a few days ago, I spoke to the folks at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, the folks who built and maintain The Wall. They told me that three more names have been added this May, bringing the new total to 58,318. 

Once again,  I wonder, are these the last?

These new additions are:

  • Kenneth R. McGuire; CPL, USMC; Rib Lake, Wisc.; Panel 34W, Line 42
  • John T. Whitson; SGT, USA; Huntsville, Texas; Panel 32W, Line 58
  • Edward L. Wilmers; SGT, USA; Lapeer, Mich.; Panel 62E, Line 7


Rest in peace, brothers.

Next time, something a little different, a plea for your help. Check back on June 3rd for more.

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

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Arizona XIV

Ajo, Arizona is about 2 and a half hours west of Tucson and roughly 40 miles above the Mexican border, in fact I had to go through border security twice to get there. I have never seen so many cameras in one place in my life!

I, also, drove through part of the Tohono O'odham reservation where I had a chance to see a memorial under construction and have a great conversation with the very helpful woman at the local American Legion, but, more on that another day.

Ajo was a mining town for many years but the mine, like so many in the area is now closed.

The local VFW has a memorial to several wars just outside its doors.


Vietnam is flanked by WW II and Korea.



The post was locked up tight the day I was there, so I could not speak to anyone for more information.


As is all too often the case, I could find no information about the memorial or the VFW Post except that its address is 1764 North 2nd Street, Ajo.

Next time, on the 29th, I will have a special Memorial Day post, so join me here at 9:00am.

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