Monday, January 26, 2015

Connecticut VI

The fates have repeatedly made their presence known on this journey. Things I haven't expected or cannot explain have happened on many occasions and this memorial is just another example.

I was having some physical therapy for some problem or another and over the course of the treatment the therapist and I talked of many things. In a conversation about this project, she said, "Oh, we have a memorial in my town" I figured it was someplace local and that I already knew of it, but it turned out that she is from Wallingford, Connecticut and told me of this memorial. I was unable to find anything on line so I started calling folks in the town and eventually got on the right guy. He sent me an envelope fiull of info on this beautiful and unique site.

Located at a five way stop at N.Main Street and Cedar Lane, this site was specifically chosen so that  many people would pass it on a regular basis; a never ending reminder of the cost of war. The "V" is 11 feet tall and the 30 degree slant is said to represent the shift in American policy during the course of the war.



More than 400 names of those who served are listed with 9 KIA/MIAs designated. The names are listed not in alphabetical order but in the order they returned, in one way or another, to the town. The idea was to force one to look, to think, to reflect.


Detail from above

Inside the apex is a recounting of the total sacrifices and loses known at the time.



The plate reads as follows;

"During the 16 yeas the war continued, American Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines fought with heroism and determination under some of the most difficult circumstances ever encountered by American Armed Forces. Tragically, upon their return home they received virtually no recognition for their service and sacrifice because of the raging controversy over United States policy in conduction the war.

300,00 were wounded in Action
75,000 were permanently disabled
57, 940 were killed in action

As of this date, November 11th, 1985, ten years after the fall of Saigon and twelve years after the removal of ground forces from Vietnam, 2489 brave servicemen remain Missing in Action or held prisoners of War.
They are not forgotten"


As always, someone has left a memento.


Next time, we travel back to Florida, so join me there at 9:00am on the 31st of January.

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

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Colorado XX

This is my 20th post from Colorado. I think that is the most from any state, so far. There are so many interesting sites here that I call Colorado that state that keeps on giving! So enjoy and I invite, encourage in fact, you to check out the other 19 posts from this beautiful state.

The Colorado Freedom Memorial is located in Aurora just outside Denver. It honors the nearly 6000 Coloradans who have paid the ultimate price since Colorado became a state. Over half of these never returned to their home, they were lost in battle or at sea, etc.

I was very happy that I had the chance to have a long conversation with the wife of one of the guys primarily responsible for getting the memorial built. She was able to give me very precise directions about how to find then site. This turned out to be a very good thing.


It might have been easy to miss if I hadn't known exactly where to find it. As you can see, it is mostly glass and as I approached it on the highway, I nearly missed it.


This is a more direct, head on, view. It is made to recall the mountains to the west. The builders wanted to invoke the last thing Colorado's soldiers might see when flying off to different lands and different wars.


There is border that runs along the walk and as I saw it through the names, it reminded me of The Wall in D.C., so I took this shot hoping to capture that idea. The names ,of course, are reversed, but you can still get the idea.

The names here are not listed alphabetically in an effort to denote the chaos of war.


Our brothers and sisters are listed upon these central, divided panels on purpose. They mean to remind us of how the country was broken by the division over the war.


I suppose it is a bit macabre, but I always check to see if anyone who shares my name is listed among the lost heroes. Here, I found a Thomas and I salute him and all the others from 'Nam, and all the wars represented here.

The memorial may be visited at;

Springhill Community Park
756 Telluride St.
Aurora, Colorado, 80011

And, I promise you will not be disappointed.

Next time, on the 26th, we will revisit Connecticut. Join me there, as always, at 9:00am.

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

Friday, January 16, 2015

California XII

This second post from La Mesa, California will highlight a couple of interesting features from the site. If you missed the first post, I recommend that you scroll back to see it first.




La Mesa Middle School took on the task of cleaning up and restoring this site in its 40th year, 2010, Among the things they did other than cleaning up and replanting things was design and add this bench that they designed and created.




Something else I have not seen previously is a camo trash can. I have to admit, I kind of like it.


So, next time, we'll slip over into Colorado. Join me there on the 21st at 9:00am.

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

Sunday, January 11, 2015

California XI

La Mesa lies just about 13 miles north east of San Diego. At the American Legion Post at the corner of University Ave.and Spring St. is a small park with a memorial dedicated to those from the area who were lost in Vietnam. It is one of the older memorials in the country as it was dedicated on Flag Day in 1970.



Over the years it has been updated and refurbished a couple of times. In 2010, La Mesa Middle School took on the task and added among other things mosaic benches. (Featured in the next post)



The information has been updated, too. The original numbers have grown from 57 to 74. In addition, a blank plaque has been added to provide space for more names should they be discovered. There is also be an permanent empty chair placed at the site to honor and recall POW/MIAs, reportedly the first in California.



I have written many times about the things people leave behind at these sites. This, however, is the first time I have seen a helmet liner (atop the cross.)



The latest re-dedication of the site took place on Flag Day, 2014, sometime after I visited, with members of the original builders and families of the lost in attendance. 44 years after the original dedication more than 400 people are reported to have come to, once again, dedicate and honor the lost from the area.

Next time, on the 16th I will post a few more interesting pics from this La Mesa site. Join me, as ever, at 9:00am.

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

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Alabama

On the grounds of the Morgan County Court House stands this memorial to the 15 men, "Decatur born," who gave their all in Vietnam. It is a simple stone listing eleven names on the front and four on the reverse, seemingly added at a later date.



The four names on the reverse


It shocks me how little information is available about this, and so many other, memorials. I have searched high and low for any detailed mention of this memorial and there seems to be nothing out there. this seems particularly odd as right on the same grounds, not more than a few feet away, is the Morgan County Vietnam Memorial, listing all of these and 7 additional names from the county. I will post about it at another time, but, like this one, there is very little information available. I fear we are fading into history and who will tell our story if there is nothing written?

Next time, on the 11th, we will return to the left coast to see another of California's many memorials. Join me, as always, at 9:00am.

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


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year

Today begins a new year. It astonishes me to realize that 2015 will be my sixth year of writing A Means to Heal. When this all began, I hoped I might get three years out of it. I figured I would visit each state, photograph its official memorial, tell its story and that would be about it. As many of you know it turned out that a number of states have no "official" memorial, so, I had to rethink the plan. This, actually, opened up many new doors and possibilities and forced me to visit corners of states I might never have seen if the original plan had developed as I had first imagined.

I have visited every state, some a number of times and I often think that this journey is nearly over. While I have documented hundreds and hundreds of Vietnam memorials, I continue to learn of new ones or ones I was merely unaware of while visiting a particular state. This year, for example, I expect to return to Florida, Maine, Louisiana, Texas, Washington, and Oregon. If I can arrange it, I would also like to revisit Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, and Alaska, but those plans are still just a vague hope. And, one never knows what I may learn of elsewhere!


At any rate, I will continue to seek out, photograph, visit and honor as many new sites as possible and then, of course, share them with all of you.

Speaking of that, I have a request. I would ask each of you to forward this site to a someone who might be interested. Like all writers, I am trying to reach as many as possible. I hear on a regular basis from people, vets in particular, who until they visited this site, did not know these memorials existed. Every one has told me that seeing and learning about these memorials has contributed to their healing and that makes this important to me. so, please, take a moment and think of someone you know; your father, grandfather, uncle, aunt, mother or your sister or anyone who might enjoy, or benefit from A Means to Heal and help them find it. As you all know there is no advertizing, and nothing for sale, on the site, so the only way new readers learn of it is through you. So, again, do me (and hopefully them) a favor and help them to join me on the journey at ameanstoheal.org.

Thank you and I hope hope you have the best of New Years. I promise to continue to seek out and share as many Vietnam memorials as I can. I ask that if you know of any memorials in your state or elsewhere, please let me know and perhaps together we can build this site and help others to heal.

Next time, on the 6th, we will, once again, visit Alabama. So, join me, as always, at 9:00am.

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

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Wall at the Holiday season

In the last post, I featured the efforts of Wreaths Across America, specifically at Arlington National Cemetery.

The same day I visited Arlington, I drove across the Potomac and stopped at The Wall. In the past, at this time of year, I have featured photos of The Wall boasting a Christmas tree. It always bothered me that I did not take the actual picture, so this year I decided to rectify the situation.

It was a beautiful day, unseasonably warm, and seemed just perfect to see if a tree was up this year, too.
Well, it was and I was surprised to find that Wreaths Across America had been here too. There was a wreath at every panel of The Wall.


As I approached the site, I was struck by the way the sun was illuminating the backs of The Three Servicemen. They have never looked so present and alive as they did today. It is said the they are walking out of the jungle and looking to see if their names are on The Wall. Today, it seemed to me, they were looking at the Christmas tree at the apex of The Wall. If you look closely, between the two men, you can see it, too.





The tree is covered with the usual seasonal stuff, but it also has pictures of many of the lost. It is quite moving.


A rare view of The Wall with no people in the picture. I waited quite some time to be able to get this shot. without serious time-lapse efforts a pic of the whole Wall would likely be impossible. This is not a bad thing. I have been to The Wall at all hours including the middle of the night and have never been alone.

Next time, we will resume our regular travels around the nation. Join me at 9:00am on the 1st of the new year.

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