Monday, September 26, 2011

New Hampshire

The New Hampshire Vietnam memorial sits in a lovely grove of trees just as you enter the state Veteran's cemetery. Located in Boscawen (110 Danial Webster Highway) this unusual site not only boasts the Nam memorial, but a number of others as well. As you walk through the cathedral-like grove on the brick paths you will find dedications from Vietnam Veteran's of America, Rolling Thunder and the Nam Knights. In addition there are POW, Air Force and Navy sites, something one does not often see.

New Hampshire gave, depending on whom you listen to, 226, 227, or 238 of her sons to the efforts in Nam. Regardless of the actual number, they are remembered and honored here along with veterans, of other wars, in other times, throughout the cemetery.

As you enter the cemetery you proceed down this flag lined road. The Nam memorial is to your right and from there you enter the grove with all of its monuments.

The writing on the bench, to the left of the insignia, at the Nam Knights site says that they are a military and law enforcement motorcycle club. Note that the dragon is holding a Vietnam Service Ribbon in his front paws!

This is another one of those visits that is going to take more than one posting to due justice. So, for now I will simply include these initial photos and over the next couple of posts (every 5 days) fill in the rest from this remarkable and dignified tribute. Check back because there is a story here about a daily tribute that you may find very interesting. So far it is unique on my journey!

Thank you to Veteran's Advantage

Just a quick post to thank Veteran's Advantage for designating A Means To Heal as a Site of Distinction. Veteran's Advantage is an organization that devotes itself to aiding vets in a variety of ways. The Site of Distinction is, as stated on their site;

" ... awarded after a special Veterans Advantage review of excellence in content and design and a focus on the Respect, Recognition, and Rewards of US Veterans, active duty military, and their families."

Their award is placed on the left side of this page. If you click it, it will take you to their site.

Their stated mission is to remind us all that how we treat our veterans directly influences the willingness of citizens to serve in the military. This fact was commented upon by none other than General George Washington at the founding of our Nation and you can read more of his prophetic statement on their site.

Again, I am honored to have been recognized by Veteran's Advantage.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Colorado XI

Just a few more shots of interest from the Western Slope Memorial.

The first shot is of the Vietnam Service ribbon near the chopper.

The next is a donation from the Vietnam Vets Motorcycle club.

The next one is of a time capsule that is to be opened in the future.

The last one brought home a number of memories for me. I carried one of these ammo boxes with me every time we were on the water. If I have not mentioned it before, I was a boat operator and spent a lot of time running up and down the Mekong river. These were claimed to be waterproof, so I carried anything I needed to keep dry in one I picked up somewhere in my travels. When mustering out of 'Nam, it was confiscated by the Army, so I lost it. So, to see this one here was kind of cool, someone got one out!!

I think this post will do it for now from Colorado. Time to move on. I will post a few more from Colorado at some future date, so keep checking back for them.

Next, I will be in New England, again, so join me on the 26th for something new.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Colorado X

One of the most gripping and poignant components of the western slope site is the sculpture, Welcome Home!

It was sculpted by Colorado artist, Richard Arnold. He, kindly, told me some of the story of this piece. He showed the finished work to a group of vets, who told him it was perfect, but he could see that there was something they were not quite comfortable with about the sculpture. Upon further questioning from him they told him they thought the uniform on the returning Marine was too neat and that he would not be smiling. Richard, who served in Danang in '65 realized that they were, indeed, correct. He reworked the statue until all agreed it was spot on. Then, one of the vets said, "let me place the Marine, so it is just right" He placed the soldier looking between his expectant parents, explaining that "He was not home, yet" Those who were there and their families will remember or understand that so many of us went away kids, and came home old men. This is made so painfully clear by the look (that should have been of joy) on the face of this soldiers mother.

In talking with Richard, I discovered that he is also the sculptor of the vet standing at the Wall in Mobile, Alabama. I wrote about him and the Mobile site some months ago. If you have not seen it you can find it here;

or just go back to the first page of this site and click on Alabama

I will note, again, that any state that is underlined has been posted, just click and you are there. Any photo can be enlarged by clicking on it, too.

Richard, also, told me about another site recently completed in Louisiana. I will fill you in on that one after I have an opportunity to see it and photograph it.

To visit Richard's studio, go here;

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11, 2011

September 11, 2001 will be burned into our collective memories with other momentous dates, such as November 22, and December 7th, for all time. I wanted to take a moment today and interrupt the Colorado series of Vietnam memorials to remember and honor our fallen brothers and sisters.

As you know, my journey is about Vietnam, but occasionally I run across a 911 memorial. I thought I would share a couple of them today in remembrance, mourning and respect.

The first picture is of one I have shared previously. It is called the Court of Honor and is located in Prospect Hill Cemetery in York, Pennsylvania. Its inscribed names honor many who have served and fallen, but the lintel across the top is an actual piece from the Twin Towers.

The second picture is from the park in Soddy Daisy, Tennessee. I wrote about the 'Nam memorial there earlier, but now is the fitting time to share this one. While not huge, it is indeed poignant. It can be found in the 9000 block of Dayton Pike.

The last couple of pictures are from Montgomery County, Maryland. On a corner in the middle of Rockville, the county seat, sits a beautiful and dignified memorial to those county residents who perished in the attack on the Pentagon. I sometimes think that in the magnitude of the events in New York and the heroics in Shanksville, Pa., those who lost their lives in the Pentagon attack are overshadowed. It was with great feeling that I discovered this tribute to our neighbors. Eleven of those lost at the Pentagon lived in my community and each of them is remembered here by a bench with his or her name etched upon it. In addition, a favorite saying, or passage from a book or poem along with a facsimile of their signature makes each of these personalized and intimate. The park is designed so that on September 11, each bench is illuminated by the sun as it passes over the site. On the day I visited, bouquets of roses had been left on each bench by family members or loved ones. It was a deeply moving display of love for our family members, our loved ones, our neighbors who were lost, but will never be forgotten.

William Edward Caswell
Dr. Gerald Paul Fisher
Capt. Lawrence D. Getzfred
Michele M. Heidenberger
Angela Marie Houtz
Teddington Hamm Moy
Lt. Darin H. Pontell
Scott A. Powell
Todd Hayes Reuben
Patricia J. Statz
Ernest M. Willcher

This dignified and beautiful tribute sits at the corner of Rte 28 and Maryland Ave. across from the court house

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Colorado X

I have been following the development of the Western Slope Memorial, on line, for quite some time. I was determined to see it when I got to Colorado, so I was very excited as we pulled into the parking lot of the Visitors Center in Fruita (near Grand Junction).

The weather chose not to cooperate just as we arrived. We had very little time to visit and take pictures, but wind, rain and thunder and lightning not withstanding, it was worth it!

What a great place! This is another of those sites that is going to take at least two posts to do justice.

What began as a brothers tribute to his brother has developed into this magnificent tribute to all. It is a treasure and you should see it if you get an opportunity.

Two buddies joined up together. Two buddies gave their all! One was killed (1971) after 100's of flying missions and the other brought him home to Colorado and his family.

His brother thought for years about building a memorial to him and The Western Slope Vietnam Memorial is the culmination of that dream.

The site, however, as I said, is more than that. It honors anyone who served during the Vietnam Era, as it is called, in-country or out-Everyone! Anyone who qualifies can contact the site and arrange for their name, or the name of a loved one to be added to the black granite walls supporting the Huey.

Those who made the final sacrifice are honored under the American flag as shown in the final picture.

The walkways (fourth pic), called the Walk of Honor, are for anyone who would like to support the effort.

I have read that the site offers music and narration to visitors, but it was not working the day I was there.

The friend who brought his buddy home was killed a number of years later (1986) in a flying accident. Ironic!

To learn more, or honor a soldier, or donate to support the site, go here;

To read more about the friend, go here;

Friday, September 2, 2011

Colorado IX

Driving through the beautiful Colorado mountains, we came to a place called Florence. Near the junction of Route 67 and Highway 50 is this great memorial.

Col. Boston was lost over North Vietnam, near Hanoi in April of 1966. This memorial was built to him and many others who answered when their country called and ultimately made the supreme sacrifice.

All American involvements are commemorated and honored here. 1316 heroes are honored here on the 2299 bricks that make up the wall. One expects that the remaining bricks will someday honor those now, or in the future, who serve the country.

The memorial is interesting because my first research said it was in Florence, the plaque on the site itself, says Canon City, but the address I found on line says 60298 Highway 50, Pemrose, Colorado. It is located on Highway 50 not far from the intersection with Route 67, near the Fremont County Airport.

To complete this story, today, I found a story telling of the recovery, identification and internment of Col. Boston. The joint POW/MIA Command with the aid of local Vietnamese citizens uncovered the remains of Col. Boston in 2000. but the technology to identify them did not exist at the time. Last April (2011), his remains were positively identified and he was buried with full military honors this past July (2011). He and his family can now rest in peace! It seems fitting somehow that I visited this spot in June and am writing these words in August (they will not post until September 2nd, however) Even though it took almost exactly 45 years to identify Col Boston, it gives hope that all of our brothers will eventually be returned to us and to their families.

You can read more about Col. Boston here;