Sunday, December 4, 2016

Colorado XXV

The Boulder Municipal Building sits at 1777 Broadway and on its grounds rests this memorial to the 25 from the area that were lost or missing.



The one missing man is Jim Hamm and I have written before about him on this site. If you want to read that post, click Colorado on the left and scroll back 'til you find the posts from Longmont. Jim Hamm was assumed captured but has never come home and has been declared dead. RIP

The top of the memorial is inscribed.



 Below the names of those lost, embedded in the brick, is a plaque.



The plaque is dedicated tot he memory of Neil J. Neitenbach who died on July 14, 1992. I have made a number of inquiries, in a number of places, but can find absolutely nothing about this man. As always, I turn to you for help. If you know anything about who this is, let me know and I will update here.

Next time, on December 9, we will revisit 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.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Canada

This is a first.

Today we are going International.

This memorial in Windsor, Ontario, Canada was built along the banks of the Detroit River which divides our two countries. It is actually south of Detroit and honors 103 Canadians including 7 MIAs.

The memorial is often referred to as The North Wall or Wall North. I have written previously, on this site, about Wall South and Wall West and you can find those by clicking on Florida or California respectively and scrolling back until you find them.


The memorial plaques are made of the same black granite that The Wall in DC is made from.


My understanding is that when it was built Canada had no memorials to those lost in Vietnam. The Detroit chapter of the Military Association of Concerned Veterans (MACV) wanted to honor our brothers from the north and created this memorial for them. Nearly 30,000 Canadians joined the U.S. Military to fight in Vietnam. This was illegal by Canadian law and each of these had to claim that they resided in a US city, perhaps this is why Canada had no memorials at the time.



Each year a wreath placing ceremony is held with representatives from Canad and the US, families, and supporters in attendance.

Since this memorial was completed I have read that Canada has created several and even has a Traveling Wall like the ones here. I have not seen any of these so am going on what I have been told or read. If you are aware of other memorials, as always, I would like to know about them.


Nearby is this beautiful American Flag, a Canadian flag similar to this one is on the other side of the memorial.


The memorial is located in Assumption Park right at the Ambassador Bridge connecting Detroit with Windsor.

I recently returned from Ireland where I was able to find two memorials that honor Irish citizens lost in 'Nam. That is an interesting story, so be watching for it in the not too distant future.

Next time, on December 4th, we will return to Colorado, so join me there as usual at 9:00am.

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

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

Taking some time with family and I hope that you are too.

Each of us have things that we should be thankful for and I hope that today you will take a few moments to remember.

Enjoy.



This guy is safe in the mountains south of Denver, so he has something to be thankful for, too.

Next time, after the holidays, we will, for the first time, go International and visit Windsor, Ontario, so, join me there on the 29th, as always, at 9:00am.

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

Monday, November 21, 2016

Arizona XII

Willcox lies about 80 miles due east of Tucson along I-10.

This memorial was dedicated om 11-11-11 to the six from the area that were lost. The 2010 census put the towns population at 3757.  I was there the following March


.

It features the familiar Field Cross of which I have written before. For those who are new to it, is a tradition reported to have begun in the Civil War. A fallen soldier was marked by inverting his rifle and placing his head gear on top. Today, this usually includes his boots and one can tell from which war the soldier was by the helmet. I have seen far too many of these where no one bothered to check that and they use a modern helmet, which is somewhat different than those we had in 'Nam. It really annoys me.




Willcox got it right.



Nearby is a marker to those that are MIA. Nice job Willcox and thanks for taking the time to do it right.



 These may be found in Railroad Avenue Park.

Next time, look for a Thanksgiving greeting.

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

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Washington VIII

This past Sunday, the 15th, a brand new Vancouver Vietnam memorial was dedicated at the Vancouver Veterans Administration Campus. It lists and honors the 58 from Vancouver that paid the ultimate price for their country.

I was in Vancouver about this time last year to visit and photograph the the existing memorial. It too is located on the VA campus and in truth, the new one seems to be an upgrade of the older one.

The site is a little difficult to find as the VA is a pretty big place in Vancouver, but we found it and it is a memorial garden, memorial and a small but very interesting little museum.


Walking through the beautiful site brought us to the memorial it self.



The plaza below the Huey has a large POW/MIA "flag" and a number of dedicated bricks. T
he new one, I read, has added a Wall with the names of all those lost.



I assume that the new site has replenished some of the grandeur of the original as it seemed a bit worn when I visited, but, that may mean that it is often visited and that has to be a good thing.

If I am able to get back to Vancouver, I will certainly check out the new additions and in a future post I will tell you more about the little museum and the two vets we found running it. We (Steve and I) had a great visit with them.

It may be found at the VA, 1601 E. Forth Plain Road.

So, next time, on the 21st, meet me back in Arizona, as always at 9:00am.

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

Friday, November 11, 2016

Veteran's Day 2016

Any who have been following this site for any time know that on certain days I try to do something a little different.

Often, on Veteran's Day I try to find a special memorial or tell the story of the day's history etc.

This year I want to tell you of my personal 45 year journey, just completed in the last few days.

In 1966 I was drafted, went to Fort Bragg and then on to Fort Eustis, Va., the Army's Transportation School's location.

There I hooked up with guys that I will consider my friends for the rest of my life. There were several: Ed, Bob and John, in particular. We all ended up together in 'Nam as boat operators. We ran supply up and down the Mekong River to several outposts. As duty in 'Nam goes, it was not the worst, although it did get hairy when we started taking fire from an unseen enemy. Rockets were not unheard off, mostly, but not always, they seemed to miss. We had nothing but M-14's, pretty damn useless.

We all parted company after getting back to the world and tried to get on with our lives, I suppose. As some years went by, I started to think about these guys more and more. After the coming of the internet, I started trying to locate some of them. I knew that Ed and Bob were from Maryland and John was from New York.

Well, I did this off and on to no avail. I could not find one word about these guys anywhere and I would give up for a while, then pick up the search again at some point.

In the last few years, I have been involved in a PTSD group at my local Vet Center and one of the guys said that he had heard from a buddy he hadn't seen or spoken to in 40 some years. The guy told him he was able to find him because he (my buddy) had a fairly uncommon name.

Well, this got me thinking. Who had the most unusual name in our small group? I remembered a guy with a name that you don't hear every day and very quickly found him. Unfortunately, he had less information than I did about the other guys, I, however, was encouraged that I had found one of the old group.

I dug in and started really digging deeper into info sites and, eventually, through some real estate records found John! Using that info, I was able to find him on FB and the minute I saw his page, even after all these years, I knew I had found him. I thought I had really accomplished the impossible, I was elated.

Not so quick! It turns out that John had a FB page that would no longer accept "Friend" requests. Never seen that before, but could not contact him.

I realized after some time that his page had accepted friends at one time, so I messaged every single one of them. In time one of them, the son of his cousin (if I remember correctly) a thirteen year old, notified John that I was looking for him and John, after more than 45 years, contacted me

He said he had been looking for me, too.


Vietnam Memorial in Eisenhower Park in East Meadow, NY

Freedom Tower at the WTC, NY
We exchanged some emails and phone calls and I drove up to Long Island to see him. We went to the Freedom Tower at the World Trade Center and located a number of Vietnam memorials on long Island, one of which is in his home town and has his name on it, as one who served. He also showed me where a previous memorial stood that had him listed as KIA! He was happy that this was corrected on the new one!

Huntington Township Vietnam Memorial
It turns out that we had both been teachers and photographers so we had way too much to talk about and not enough time to cover all we wanted to say.

It struck me how we remember, or perhaps don't remember things, events and episodes in our own lives. There were several memories that I have carried for 50 years that I now know are just wrong and I remembered things that John had completely forgotten. He told me a story about how on our way to 'Nam, I had been reading John Lennon's A Spaniard in the Works. there was a liner in it that I found funny. "Waggie tail, doggie, waggie tail" I don't know why, but I found that very funny. Now, all these years and several dogs later, John's dog Brutus II, wags his tail madly every time John utters these words. It is funny what your mind does. My PTSD therapist says that the mind does its best to protect you from trauma, by erasing certain memories. I guess this is true as I still struggle with trying to figure out what and why I have forgotten or repressed so much.

I guess the point of this post is this. I've have written a little about these events on FB and a number of you have written back speaking of your frustration in trying to reach old buddies. Well, don't give up, keep trying, because you never know when some thirteen year old kid, that you have never met, will get you in contact with one of them.

In the meantime, accept and enjoy the thanks of a grateful nation on this Veteran's Day. I know that sometimes it seems that there are just a whole lot of vets out there, but at any given time, only one or one and a half percent of the population actually serves, so it isn't as many as it may seem.

Good luck in search for your buddies and Welcome Home.

Next time, on the 16th, we will return to Washington, so join me there at 9:00am. as always.

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

Sunday, November 6, 2016

South Dakota XIX

While cruising through South Dakota, I came upon the veterans cemetery in Mitchell. While it is, like all such cemeteries, not specific to Vietnam, I did find some markers and statues that honor our brothers and sisters.


This soldier is not labeled as a Nam vet, but his attire and gear make me think he probably is. 


This guy surveys the whole area.


Another soldier stands his lonely guard. No designation, but once again I think the gear makes him one of us.

And, finally, one we can be sure of.


On the 11th, I hope to have a special, more personal story to tell, so check back then, this time at 11 minutes after 11 o'clock.

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