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.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Florida XI

Ft. Lauderdale is famous for many things and I was sure there must be a Vietnam memorial in the town.



I found it at the War Memorial Auditorium, located on 8th Street (Sandy Mininger Drive) Located in the lobby of the building are a couple of remembrances, but the one to our brothers and sisters from 'Nam is the predominant one.



A statue of a soldier, down on one knee, is bracketed by a flag and a plaque listing all from the area who served. All 159 of them.


There is no designation as to those who might have been lost.



The loss is reflected in his eyes.

The lobby was not the best place to get pics, glaring lights and lots of reflection off the walls, floor and marble of the site were a problem. I want to give a shout out to the nice lady that worked there, who went around turning off lights in hopes it might lead to better pictures. She certainly went out of her way and I appreciate it greatly.



Next time, on the 25th, we will revisit Louisiana, so, join me there, as usual, at 9:00am.

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

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

California XVII


In Los Angeles there is a unique tribute to Vietnam vets.

In Hawaii, it seems that Americans of Japanese descent wanted to build a memorial to the 117 heroes who died in 'Nam. The usual processes were followed; meetings, planning, publicity, fund-raising etc. When all was complete, it became apparent that no site for the memorial could be found within our 50th state. It seemed that the project was doomed. However, the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center in L.A. heard of the problem and said, "We have the space, build it here." and that is what happened.

I had read about the site several times but was always unable to get there when in California. This time I determined that it would be my first stop. I flew from the east coast to the west, rented a car, programmed the GPS and headed out. The site is less than 20 miles from the airport, but all of the airport stuff and the famous LA traffic, took so long that as I neared the site, it became obvious that the light of day was fading far too quickly.

I decided to find it anyway so that I could, at least, see it and honor it. After a little difficulty and some directions from a local, I found it. I decided to try to get some pics, anyway and, like the project itself, it all worked out.

The memorial is part of the Memorial Court which faces on San Pedro Street and includes memorials to those who participated in other of America's wars, too.

The exact address is 244 San Pedro Street, Los Angeles, Ca.

More info may be found here;

http://www.jaccc.org/memorial.php

Next time, on the 20th, we will take another trip to Florida, so, I'll see you there, as always, at 9:00am.

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






Friday, March 10, 2017

Arizona XIII

Several hours northeast of Tucson is Clifton and high above the town, perched on a bluff is a memorial to all who have served from the area.

The memorial is accessed by climbing a VERY rough trail. At times, I had to find something to hold on to to keep on going. About half way up, I began to regret my decision to try to make the climb. I didn't think I could make it, but, after resting, several times, I did finally make it to the site. I would caution anyone that wants to make the journey to be well prepared and expect difficulty.


It is called "America's long walk for freedom" and you will understand.

The path leading to the site has a number of signs, honoring those from various wars who are remembered here.




All that I had read about the site said that there were 1800 dog tags on display, but when I got there I could not locate them. However, if you look at the pics, here, you can see them strung between the flag poles.  I have no explanation for why I couldn't locate them. Perhaps, it was because I was truly exhausted after the climb up. I am already thinking about trying to get back sometime.

Note the Dog Tags strung between the poles. I am told there are now more than 2000.

There are flags, a field cross of sorts and a large bell, the bell says "Ring for Freedom" so, I did. It was startling how loud it was. I guess the altitude and silence of being that high up made it seem louder. I wondered if anyone on the ground heard it.


The way back down was much easier, but I did actually fall, twice. Almost predictably, I landed in a patch of cactus and spent quite some time pulling needles out of my hand and arm. No real harm done and I am glad that I made the climb.


The bluff is called Mares Bluff and is unmarked from the main road, but anyone in the town can direct you to it, where you will find this sign at the trail head.

You can read more about this unique site, here:

 http://www.eacourier.com/news/uniqueness-marks-mares-bluff-memorial-in-greenlee-county/article_3aabb3a4-ea88-5eae-b2b7-74654c2c0f7b.html

On the 15th, next time, we will visit a memorial in California with a rather unique story. Check it out, as always, at 9:00am.

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


Sunday, March 5, 2017

Washington IX

I had read about this park with several memorials in Tacoma, but had no specific address. The GPS kept insisting that I make a right turn before the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, but there was no turn. Figuring I had missed it, I went back and tried again, after paying the huge toll on the bridge every time I crossed. turned out I crossed it several times, your welcome Washington, and finally realized the roads had been changed and I would have to just kind of figure it out. At one point, I could see the park, but could not find a way off the highway to get to it. Frustrating!

Anyway, finally found a way in and it is really very nice with several memorials and a beautiful view of the bridge.


Located at 624 N. Meyers Street it has a big parking lot for easy access.


Many names of the lost a honored here on this wall.


Further into the park is a memorial to Medal of Honor recipients that list several from Washington.





One from Vietnam, Patrick Brady, is listed among them.


So, after the initial difficulty, I was pleased to visit this peaceful, beautiful place where our brothers and sisters, from all wars will, forever, be remembered.

On the 10th, we will make a return visit to Arizona, so, as always, join me there at 9:00am.

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


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Oregon XIV

This memorial sits at one end of the parking lot of the Museum of the Oregon Territory. We did not have great directions and drove around for quite some time trying to find it. We pulled into the lot and decided to ask in the Museum, but it was closed. As we started to leave and move on to the next site, we noticed the flag flying high and there, nestled in the trees, was the memorial.



It honors a Medal of Honor recipient from Oregon City who gave his life for his fellow soldiers.



 Specialist Dahl's official Medal of Honor citation reads:

Sp4c. Dahl distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity while serving as a machine gunner on a gun truck near An Khe, Binh Dinh Province. The gun truck in which Sp4c. Dahl was riding was sent with 2 other gun trucks to assist in the defense of a convoy that had been ambushed by an enemy force. The gun trucks entered the battle zone and engaged the attacking enemy troops with a heavy volume of machine gun fire, causing a large number of casualties. After a brief period of intense fighting the attack subsided. As the gun trucks were preparing to return to their normal escort duties, an enemy hand grenade was thrown into the truck in which Sp4c. Dahl was riding. Instantly realizing the great danger, Sp4c. Dahl called a warning to his companions and threw himself directly onto the grenade. Through his indomitable courage, complete disregard for his safety, and profound concern for his fellow soldiers, Sp4c. Dahl saved the lives of the other members of the truck crew while sacrificing his own. Sp4c. Dahl's conspicuous gallantry, extraordinary heroism, and intrepidity at the cost of his life, above and beyond the call of duty, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on himself, his unit and the U.S. Army




Sometimes, memorials are large and lavish, like The Wall in DC or any number of the others posted on this site, but, other times they are small, personal, dignified and every bit as poignant and important as is this one and the many others, also posted here.

Next time, on the 5th, we will revisit Washington, so join me there at 9:00am.

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

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Virginia XIII



Last year, while wandering the Marine Corp Museum in Triangle, Virginia, I came a cross an area that, at least from the road was difficult to get to without climbing guard rails, etc. so, that's what I did. I had been down to see the Take Me Home Huey exhibit featured at the Museum on Memorial Day weekend. You can find more info on this fantastic project elsewhere on A Means to Heal, too.


Good choice. I found a memorial to military dogs and a few mentions of Vietnam service along the walkway, which, it turns out was easily accessible form elsewhere. I will write about these at a future date.


This memorial to the class of '67 includes the name of Victor David Westphall whose parents built the first national memorial in Angle Fire New Mexico after Victor was killed in 'Nam. I have featured this spectacular site elsewhere on this effort and have often said that seeing the memorial in new Mexico is largely responsible for this on going project, to honor as many as possible.




The memorial honors the 39 men from BOC class 5, 1967 who were lost in 'Nam. they became known as the boys of '67 and Lt Westphall was one of them.


 A reminder to us all.


Next time, on the28th, we will venture back to Oregon, so, as always, join me there at 9:00am.

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