Friday, January 27, 2012
"Deep in the heart o' Texas..." well, Dallas, anyway. The Texas Vietnam Memorial is located at Fair Park in Dallas. This beautiful series of walls, waterfalls and running water pays honor to the more than 500,000 Texans who risked all, during the Vietnam Era, when asked by their country and it commemorates the 3416 who actually paid that price. 107 of these are still considered MIA as of the most recent data I could find.
The site consists of 5 stone walls. Four are arranged parallel to each other. The inner 2 have names on both sides while the outer 2 have names only on the side facing inward. Offset to the northwest of these is the final piece, which is a 'Missing in Action' memorial. This memorial is covered with names from many eras including the a fore mentioned from Vietnam.
During the state fair many people put small American Flag stickers next to the names of loved ones or just to honor a fallen soldier. These attracted my attention but even more so the numbers of names that had not been so marked, honored, remembered.
The last pic shows part of a large area of dedicated bricks that did not seem to be connected to the memorial, but there was no information of any kind so it is hard to be sure.
One source I read said that the memorial was built by the DAR, but I was unable verify that anywhere else. The site saying this was also unable to reach anyone at DAR who could confirm this as true or not. Go figure!
Dedicated on November 11, 1989 by George H.W. Bush the memorial may be found at Fair Park, near First and Parry Avenues. Visit if you can. This park is a beautiful place made honorable and sacred by the inclusion of this great memorial to our brothers and sisters from the great state of Texas.
Sunday, January 22, 2012
When I arrived in North Dakota, I was only aware of two memorial sites; Bismarck and New Rockford. This just did not seem right, so after some research and phone calls I located the one in Lidgerwood. It, also, just seemed to me that a town as big and well known as Fargo must have something. Well, after talking to a number of guys in VFW's etc, I finally realized that I was pretty much out of luck. Then one guy asked if I was aware of the Fargo Air Museum? He told me they had a version of "The Wall" there. So, I headed out.
I found the site with no problems, but was disappointed to discover that "The Wall" was only on display part time and now was not the time!
However, the museum is great place and I did find a number of 'Nam related exhibits within its walls. These included the photos here of the memorial to the four from Fargo who were lost, a full sized chopper, and a POW memorial and a small sculpture of people searching names on The Wall. I have seen this piece in a number of places and it never fails to move me.
I highly recommend this museum if you have a chance to visit Fargo. Most of their aircraft is flight ready and there are many interesting historic planes and exhibits.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
In the southwest corner of North Dakota is the town of Lidgerwood. I found this really nice park there and saw that it was created by the local American Legion Post. I went to the Post but no one was there. I spent some time in a local eatery, talked with some nice folks and moved on to my next destination.
The first pics show some of the hardware in the Park. I always like it when a community decides to make a memorial kid friendly.
Each of the services has one of these small circular gardens dedicated to it. And, one often finds quotes, or scriptural verses in these sacred spots, but I think that none fits so well as the one found here.
Back home, I could not stop thinking about what small towns like Lidgerwood, so often, do for their citizens. I did some checking and found out a couple of interesting things.
Lidgerwood has well under 1000 people. The 2000 census, the latest I could find, said 738 folks live there. In light of today's economy, I wonder if that number has gone up or down?
The median income is well under $30,000 (again in 2000) and the American Legion published a 75th Anniversary book about the Post in 1994. Making it, now 93 years old!
These very few folks, without tons of money managed to build this great park. While it is not specifically a Vietnam memorial, the hardware here is from our era, so, to me, it counts! The park was also pretty well maintained, speaking to the dedication of those involved. It still just astounds me that this park is more than many towns, cities, and some states do for their vets!
Thursday, January 12, 2012
One hundred and forty miles northeast of Bismarck is the little town of New Rockford. It was remarkable to find such a nice site here. The site, while a Vietnam memorial, is dedicated to all vets. This I believe is another reflection of VVA pledge to never abandon any generation of veterans.
The site consists of a stone marker, three flags, a Huey and a M-47 Patton Tank. Oddly on another site the tank is identifies as an M-48. I am sorry to say that I do not know the difference, but apparently, both were used in 'Nam.
In an article I read about the town the writer commented that both the Huey and the Patton were pointed north, as if, expecting an invasion from Canada. The town of Rockford lies less than 200 mikes from Canada's border with the U.S. I really found this amusing, or do you think they know something we don't?
Sunday, January 8, 2012
As I was leaving the North Dakota Capitol site, I noticed yellow ribbons affixing something to the trees that line the entrance to the Capitol grounds. Upon further inspection I found that the ribbon was securing pictures and information about MIA's from North Dakota. This, too, was something I have never seen before. The picture I walked up to stated that the soldier was the first MIA in 'Nam. I wasn't sure if this meant for the city, county, state or what. I made some calls and found out that this soldier was the first MIA from North Dakota. His plane was shot down and he has never been recovered. Interestingly, I found a site that claimed that he was recovered, but my conversation with the Fargo AmVets, named in his honor, confirmed that he was truly lost. There were quite a lot of trees lining both sides of the long oval drive in and out of the capitol grounds, Each tree had ribbons and photos of those still missing.
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
For the centennial celebration of statehood, North Dakota built the All Veterans Memorial. Located just south of The Heritage Center, on the Capitol grounds it commemorates the 4050 citizens who have sacrificed their lives in the states 100 year history. These names are listed on 55 bronze panels. On 15 of these are listed the names of the 199 heroes who were lost in Vietnam.
A unique and amazing feature of this site is that there is opening in the ceiling that allows the sun to shine through. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the year, those rays of sun fall upon the large globe in the center of the building. In fact, they fall directly upon the state of North Daklota on that globe. The "state" has been raised and polished, so that it really shines on that day. I have never seen anything quite like this in my travels. I have visited well over 300 sites across the nation and this is a first. Of course, I would have liked to have found a memorial solely to our brothers and sisters lost in 'Nam, but I must say that this one is quite something.
Next, I will cover other memorials in North Dakota. there are not too many, but I was able to locate a couple. More on the 8th, as always, at 9a.m. Remember, any underlined state is posted and you can enlarge any photo by clicking on it.