Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Maryland XIII

I returned, recently, to my elementary school to visit a memorial to one of my classmates. He was killed in 'Nam and the school has placed a plaque with his likeness in the foyer of the building. A scholarship fund was created in his name and for the last, nearly, 50 years, a student has benefited.

Actually, three of my schoolmates were lost in 'Nam and while I was there the Principal asked me to help her create a memorial for all three and I was thrilled to agree. We were all in "Nam at the same time, give or take a month or two. More on the new memorial at a later date.

The small plaques have the names of the 49 students that have been awarded the scholarship over the years

Frank "Trippy" Streeks was an all around good guy. He was smart, funny and a skilled athlete. After elementary school he went to a different High School than I did so I didn't see him every day like I did through the eight grade. Shortly after graduation we each went off to 'Nam, not really knowing the other was there. I came home. Trippy did not. I guess all of us that made it back wonder, often I suppose, why me, why did I make it back and Trippy (or someone else) did not?

This memorial was hard to see. I lost buddies in the war as we all did, but this was somehow different. I guess it is because I knew Trippy and the other guys for many years. We were kids together, and in many ways became men together and as always the question, why me?

I have been told it is OK to let you in on the fact that WJLA7 has been working on a piece about my A Means to Heal project. It is part of their ABC7 Stories...which is a new brand at WJLA-TV focusing on long form stories that are captivating, compelling stories that are more than the usual few second sound bites one sees on the regular news.

What happens is that as part of the "regular" newscasts a short segment of the longer story is shown and viewers are encouraged to go to WJLA's on line presence to watch the whole segment. The A Means to Heal story is currently in the editing stages and will be available before the end of the month. I will, certainly, keep you posted about that. The process of making this has been fascinating and I am extremely honored to have been part of the effort. I am hopeful that some folks will see it and then visit A Means to Heal, for me, it's all about getting the word out, especially to vets.

In the meantime, here is the URL to their site if you want to check out some of these "long form" stories.

Be sure to check out Left Behind, a great documentary on items left behind at The Wall. It is fascinating and if you are a vet, perhaps healing, too.

This has been a really exciting opportunity for me to work with Jay Korff and Kevin Drennen from WJLA and I cannot thank them enough for their interest, understanding, and patience, not to mention their professionalism and expertise in seeing this through. We all, especially Jay and Kevin, spent a lot of hours putting this together. I will let you know when it is available and I hope you enjoy it.

Next time, on the 23rd, we will venture back to Massachusetts, so, please join me there, as always, at 9:00am.

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

Friday, January 13, 2017

Maine X

I know that last time I said we would return to Maryland today, but, somehow I managed to skip over Maine. Don't want to do that and in keeping with the alphabetical nature of these posts, today: Maine.

This small memorial honors the four from the York area that paid the ultimate price.

 I am not sure what this memorial was made from but as you can see the names and info are hard to read

The four  names, date of loss, where they were lost and their units are inscribed upon the memorial along with a few other details and the top inscription is from the poem For the Fallen, by Lawrence Binyon:

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning...."

It sits just outside the Virginia Weare Parsons Education Center and the ground around it was recently upgraded and improved by local vets and cemetery staff..

The memorial is under the care of the First Parish Cemetery located at 108 York Street.

This another of the far too many memorials about which I can find very little information. If you are from the area or know something about it, I would really like to hear from you and I will update new info here,

So, next time, on the 18th, we will revisit Maryland as previously promised. Join me there, as always, at 9:00am.

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

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Ireland, County Mayo, Castlebar

Oddly, we are right back to Ireland! This time, however, it is to honor four from County Mayo who were lost in Vietnam.

These men, among many others, volunteered to fight along side us in Vietnam. In a later post, I will tell the whole story of the Irish who put their lives on the line for the Vietnamese, but today I will simply share these photos from Mayo.

About an hour or so north of Galway, in the west of Ireland, the Mayo Peace Park Garden of Remembrance sits in an old grave yard along the side of one of the major roads in to the town.

The Peace Park honors the many Irish who have served their country and paid the ultimate price.

Nearby, is a memorial to those who fought in causes along side the U.S. and this is where the four men who died in Vietnam are honored.

These doves, a universal symbol of peace, are prominently displayed on each side of the memorial.

The unknown soldier, now arguably a thing of the past, is remembered here, also.

There are many other memorials here and a walk through the graveyard is amazing. The old Celtic crosses are always beautiful to me and so symbolic of so much of Irish history.

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

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

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Left Behind

Well, we are back on track now, back to posting about Vietnam memorials.

Today, I have a very special post for you.

As you probably know visitors to the Wall often leave things behind. A memento, or a personal item, or sometimes something as simple as a flag.

What you may not know is that every single thing left behind by visitors is collected every day and sent to storage facilities in the area, where it is catalogued and stored. Currently, two warehouses are being used to maintain all the items. There are plans, I believe to create a rotating display of these items once the Education Center is complete on the mall.

 Jay Korff, a reporter for ABC7, along with Kevin Drennen, has created a documentary about these items. It aired this past November and he has given me permission to post it here. This film is part of series the station has created called News Worth Watching and I think you will find it different from what we usually see on the news.

I think you will be absolutely amazed at the job these two pros did and at the myriad of items left at The Wall.

So, now, please take a little time to view this wonderful piece and please tell your family, friends, and especially vets about it. Its healing power is not to be denied.

Please let me know what you think and if you like it, let ABC7 know too so that they will continue to produce interesting, timely and in this case, healing, presentations.

I will, soon, be posting more news about these compelling projects, so, stay tuned!

Next time, on the 8th, we will venture back, believe it or not to Ireland, this time to visit a Vietnam memorial so, join me there, as usual, at 9:00am.

To see other Vietnam memorials from around the country, please click on a state name on the left side of this page.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

December 29, 2016

This will be the final non-memorial post for this year. I will return to posting Vietnam memorials on January 3, 2017.

While driving through the west of Ireland, we came upon this ruined Monastery. It was build by St. Coleman in 610 A.D. in a place now called Kilmacduagh, after the Saint, himself..( Kil means cell and Mac Duagh is Coleman's surname.) It lies between Ennis and Galway.

The round tower is the tallest in Ireland at 110 feet. These were used as places for the monks to hide when the Vikings or others tried to do them harm. they were also used as bell towers. This one leans to some degree and as been compared to the Leaning tower of Pisa.

The main building is the remains of a Cathedral and the smaller one is a churches and the square one the Abbott's residence.

The church yard is filled with graves, many very old, some quite current and several have generation after generation listed upon them.

This is a view into the Cathedral. I liked the receding arches. It is said that there are a number of carvings within, but the place was chained the day I was there.

If interested, there is much more information here:  

The place seemed just a little more special to us because my wife has relatives who live not so very far from this site named Coleman, whom we have spent great time with in past visits.

OK, now on the 3rd, we will resume postings about Vietnam memorials, so join me then, as always at 9:00am.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

December 24, 2016

In keeping with my tradition of not posting about memorials during the holiday season I was somewhat at a loss as to what to post today.

I had hoped to get to The Wall in DC to post the pictures of the Christmas tree and wreaths from Wreaths Across America, but it is just not to be this year.

I remembered that a while back I was in the Baltimore
area and happened upon a nursery all lit up for the season. I stopped ina tried to capture some of the beauty but was not so successful.

Here are three that I thought were worth sharing. Please enjoy, no matter how, or what, you celebrate and take just a moment to remember all those who, throughout the world cannot be home, at this joyous time of the year, with their family and friends.

Santa himself, all alone, awaiting some youngster.

Hard to see here, but the tree is all decorated and lit.

This is not a small gingerbread house on display. It is a pretty big, kid size, playhouse.

So, for this Christmas eve, that is it. Just wishing you and yours and soldiers and vets everywhere the best holidays ever.

Next time, on the 29th, I will post some more pics from Ireland's west coast before getting back to the job at hand: Vietnam memorials in the New Year.

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

Monday, December 19, 2016

2016 Holidays

As anyone who has followed this post, for any time, knows at this time of year I try to post something other than stories about Vietnam memorials. It just seems incongruent to write about the loss of so many at this particular season of joy and renewal.

So, I have been thinking about what to share this year.

I visited Ireland in the fall and these are a few of the more interesting pics I was able to take.

An ancient Irish High Cross. Most of these were destroyed by Oliver Cromwell and his troops who used them for target practice. I have seen these before but never with this detail and color. It seems the originals, which depict Bible scenes, etc, were highly colorized by the builders.

This is an Ogham stone. Note the carved slashed on the edges, this is an example of what is often called Tree Writing as the slashes come off a center line. the Ogham alphabet at 25 letters and these stones were a type of message board, sometimes marking boundaries.

This stands just on the edge of Stephens Green in Dublin. It commemorates those lost in the Irish Famine.There is currently a movement to stop using the term famine, because famine connotes that this tragedy was an act of nature, it was not. There was NO famine in Ireland. There was a potato blight and millions of people dies or fled Ireland, half the population was lost, but it was completely man made. All the crops, other than the potatoes were taken and shipped to England. The Irish were left with only the potatoes, and they were destroyed by the blight, hence the starvation. In an effort to unsanitize this treachery, the movement to call it what it was, has emerged.

This a Dolmen, thought to be a burial facility, and they are scattered all across Ireland. Ions ago, it would have been a completely covered in stone. It is believed that over the centuries the missing stones were carried away for other purposes.

And, finally, the Molly Malone statue in Dublin. The Irish have a quick sense of humor and they have a propensity for calling things by other names. I have seen another statue of a water sprite in flowing water which has been renamed by the locals as The Floozy in the Jacuzzi, well, so too this the famous Molly, renamed the Tart with the Cart. It is also customary to flip a coin into her ample cleavage for luck. Ah, the Irish!

So, that's it for today. I hope to have a special greeting up on the 24th, so if you have a minute at this hectic time of the year, plaese check back.

Otherwise, have a most joyous and peaceful hoiday however you choose to celebrate it.

If you are brand new to this site, click on a state name at the left to see Vietnam memorials from any state in the union and check back often as new ones are posted every 5th day at 9:00am.