Friday, January 7, 2011


The story of the memorial for the state of Vermont has some unusual twists and turns in the telling.

Thought by many to be the first State sponsored site it nearly was lost forever. Built at a rest area on Interstate 89, Vietnam Veteran's memorial Highway, about 138 miles from the Canadian border. The site struck a nerve as 138 of Vermont's citizens were lost in the war. Their names are listed on the granite monument on site. The area is also reminiscent of Vietnam's highlands and felt familiar to many. Interstate 89 is also the road to the Veteran's Hospital in White river Junction and was often traveled by vets and their families.

The site was dedicated two weeks before the Wall in D. C. and by the mid 90's the facilities were failing. The Sharon rest area, and others, were slated for closure. The memorial would be lost.

Vietnam Veterans of America, Vermont Chapter, vets, and many others fought to keep the site open. The government listened and pledged to keep the memorial open. Working with the vets a new center was designed and built, and opened in 2005. A unique feature of the new site is its geothermal heating and cooling system. Visitors can walk through this "Living Machine" and see it at work and admire the many beautiful and exotic plants that flourish inside the greenhouse structure. The last photo is from the inside of the "Living Machine"

Inside the new visitors center one can view many photos from 'Nam, see the names of all who served (7,236) and visit a small museum of artifacts gathered over time. A triple time-line listing National, Vermont, and War events helps tell the story.

Described as a place "To Grieve, To Honor and To Learn" the center is a magnificent tribute to those who served.

Gold Star Mother Louise Ransom said the following at the initial dedication on October 30, 1982

"We will remember how they
looked the last time we saw them.
We will remember also the weddings never attended,
the houses never built,
the children never born,
the fields never plowed,
books never written
and the songs never sung."

Another element I liked was the white marble blocks set into the wall. There are 138 and are used for candles during ceremonies or left by family and friends. You can see them in the second and third pictures.

1 comment:

  1. I really like these pictures! I feel like I am really there.