Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Oregon update

When I wrote recently about Bend Oregon's memorial I commented that I had no luck in running down info about it and promised to update if I found anything. Well, a couple of guys from the area saw that post and responded. The following is taken directly from what they sent me. Thanks guys, I love it when people respond to the site and fill in info that I don't have.

"On Memorial Day it's good to remember that Bend has the distinction of having America's first memorial to the veterans of the Vietnam War. My brother died there in March of 1967. Soon after, my mom and Mrs. Dexter (whose son was still listed as MIA) decided to build a memorial. As I recall, it was completed in 1967 but we waited until Memorial Day of 1968 to dedicate it. Between the completion... and the dedication, a memorial in Kentucky was dedicated and it is generally recognized as our country's first. I believe Bend ought to get the credit.
I have photos of it when it was first completed and it's chilling to see that the two women knew to leave lots of room for additional names to be added. Lessons they learned from WWII, I suspect.
The memorial is out at Deschutes Memorial Gardens and still looks great even after all these years. Bennie Dexter's name was one of the last to be added."
And another post;

"It may be helpful to point out that Deschutes Memorial Gardens has TWO memorials. The newer large memorial with the flags and the bricks many of us purchased was dedicated in the late 1980's, I think. The original Wall was built in 67 and dedicated on Memorial Day 1968. It's the one with the names of those from Central Oregon who died in Vietnam."

Oddly, on the same day I heard from the guys in Oregon, I heard from some folks in Charlottesville, Va. about their memorial that was dedicated in 1966! I have not been to see it yet, but will do so before the summer is over. I will report on it at that time. Many thanks to all who are sending info my way. This blog is improved by your input.

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