Friday, April 9, 2010


Alabama is in the unique situation of having more than one Vietnam Memorial. Even more intriguing is the fact that they are all in the same place! The story goes something like this. Vets in Southern Alabama wanted a memorial, so they arranged to build one at Battleship Park where the USS Alabama has been on display and open to the public for some time. It was, also, decided that when the States traveling memorial, dedicated to all of Alabama's fallen completed its tour, that it, too, would be placed at the same site. The Baldwin and Mobile County Memorial was to honor the 175 fallen from those counties while the larger one pays tribute to all 1213 lost from the state.

It was later determined that the the larger traveling wall was not a candidate for inclusion at Battleship Park, so the vets decided to build their own version. It, too, is now located at the site. The site is said to include a "Huey" but it was not there on the days that I visited. The site does have a couple of interesting and extremely moving features not seen elsewhere.

First, there is a life-size statue of a vet looking at the wall, "Remembering" as the information on site explains. It was decided that he should be representative of vets today and therefore he is clearly older. Described at the time of placement as "fiftyish", he is in an old fatigue shirt and jeans. A patch on the shirt reads;"It's never over" It occurs to me what a statement that is. Despite all the literature and movies to the contrary, most of us came home and pursued our lives in a relatively "normal" (whatever that means) fashion. We went to school, and/or got jobs, married, had kids, grand kids, just like everyone else. It is also true that a day does not go by without some memory or less frequently, now, a brief flashback to that other time. For me, it is usually triggered by the smell of diesel fuel from a construction site or something. I think it is probably safe to say that all vets from all wars have similar experiences.

The third picture in this series is of an commemorative wall that is part of the continuous fund raising necessary to maintain the site. It sits just on the edge of the pentagon shaped memorial site and bricks can be purchased for any service veteran to help in this effort. As you can see there are a number of spaces yet available for purchase. If you would like to participate please contact the memorial;

Call (334)649-2281 or e-mail

There is a B-52 on site and the wall is considered to be "under the wing", once again protected by these iconic planes. This one is a vet too. Named "Calamity Jane, she flew more than 100 missions in 'Nam. I think everyone has probably heard of the motorcycle run held each year in D.C. Thousands and thousands of bikes ride from the Pentagon past the Wall. It is referred to as "Rolling Thunder" due to the throbbing engines but I wonder if as many people know that the name comes from the bombing runs made by this and other B-52's, in country, called "Rolling Thunder." It is my greatest wish to ride in D.C.'s Rolling Thunder and am currently making plans to do just that.

More on this moving, exceptional site next time.

1 comment:

  1. I really like this one. I love that the statue is of a "current" vet, remembering. A nice tribute to all of you who made it back - but for whom it will never be over. I also like that the names on the wall are "under the wing" of the
    B-52, forever protected.