Monday, October 29, 2012

Arkansas VI



Southwest of Clinton (Northwest of Little Rock) lies Morrilton and on their Court House lawn is this memorial to two from Conway County who paid the ultimate price of war. Located on the corner of Moose and Church Streets, it sits among a few other memorial to others lost in other wars.

The inscription reads as follows;

VIETNAM ERA
AUGUST 5, 1964 - MAY 7, 1975

THIS PLAQUE IS IN REMEMBRANCE AND HONOR OF THE
VIETNAM WAR VETERANS OF CONWAY COUNTY, ARKANSAS
AND COMMEMORATES THE COURAGEOUS SERVICE AND
DEDICATION THESE VETERANS GAVE FOR THEIR COUNTRY.
SPECIAL RECOGNITION IS GIVEN TO THE FOLLOWING WHO
WERE KILLED IN ACTION:

SP/4 DONALD NISLER WHITE
COMPANY A, 1ST BATTALION, 20TH INFANTRY,
11TH BRIGADE, AMERICAL DIVISION

E-7 PLATOON SGT WILLIAM ROGER BROOKS,
COMPANY C, 3RD BATTALION, 21ST INFANTRY,
196 BRIGADE, AMERICAL DIVISION.

THIS EXPRESSION IS TO SHOW SINCERE APPRECIATION AND
GRATITUDE TO VIETNAM VETERANS SO THAT THEY AND THEIR
TRUE COURAGE AND PATRIOTISM WILL BE REMEMBERED.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Arkansas V





Clinton, Arkansas is the County Seat of Van Buren County and is about 50 miles west and north of Searcy. Located at the Court House is this memorial to the three from the area who were lost in the war. The city of Clinton has just over 2 ,000 residents and the County just over 16K and once, again, the very few found away to honor the even fewer~ those who gave all for a war they may, or may not have understood or agreed about.

The inscription on the memorial reads;


Van Buren County Remembers Vietnam
For those who returned,
Thank you God.
For those who died,
Glory forever God.
For those who are still missing,
Please God,
The Soldier above all other people
Prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear
the deepest wounds and scars of war.

In Memory of
Ricky Curtis Bradley
PFC., U.S. Army

Edward Wilson Griffith
Capt., U.S. Army

Gary Cecil Hall
Capt., U.S. Air Force

Friday, October 19, 2012

Arkansas IV

The White County Vietnam Memorial is located in Searcy about 50 miles northeast of Little Rock. On the corner of N. Spruce and W. Race Streets, in front of the Court House is the three paneled memorial to the 13 lost and 3 MIA's from the county.

This memorial includes something I have never encountered before. The insignia on the top right is that of the Seabees.The Seabees are the Navy's Construction Battalion (CB's) and they have built bases, roads etc all over the world. If you are interested you may find out lots more, here;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seabee_%28US_Navy%29

I spent some time talking to a guy from the local Rolling Thunder group and he told me that he thinks he remembers hearing that one of the MIA's was eventually accounted for. I spent some time trying to verify this and could not do so. One hopes that is is right and that info simply eludes me.

He told me another interesting story, too. He, like me, is a member of Patriot Guard. Recently, when the funeral of a local soldier took place, more than 2400 members of Patriot Guard showed up to honor him and protect his family from any who might dare interfere.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Arkansas III


Located just a short walk from the Vietnam memorial there is a small copse of trees. These trees give shade and protection to a memorial to the several Medal Of Honor awardees from Arkansas. One of these is from the Vietnam war.

Nick D. Bacon was born in Arkansas but was moved with his family to Arizona. After his distinguished military  career, he returned to Arkansas where, as in Arizona, he served in many admirable positions. He served his country in ways too numerous to mention here. When he passed in 2008 he was the last living Medal Of Honor awardee in Arkansas.

You should take a moment to visit the URL below where you may read about all the contributions Mr. Bacon made to his country. A true hero deserving of a moment of your time.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nick_Bacon

Interestingly, I wrote my first post 3 years ago today. At the time, I had not a notion about where this journey would take me or if I would ever complete it. In fact, I remember thinking that this might be too big a project and that I might never get it done. And here we are; I have written a couple of hundred posts, visited all 50 states, many more than once and continue to seek out new sites to visit, honor, and photograph. I have met countless great people, heard many many stories and had numerous adventures along the way. If you know of any Vietnam memorial sites, large or small, I would love to hear from you. You can leave a comment or there is an email listed on the side of the site that is private.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Arkansas II

"Inside" the memorial are some interesting views. Here is another of the soldier and a couple of The Wall itself. I have written before about how so many of these sites are designed to help us reflect on the magnitude of the war, the sacrifice and the loss of those involved. This one is no different, the names here, seen in two different views are, as always, compelling and heartbreaking and the reflection often includes oneself and forces one to contemplate. In my case, like so many other vets, I wonder, "Why is it that I was spared and these were not?"

You can, also, see why the numbers in the previous post differ. It is not at all unusual for names to be discovered after the sites are complete and you can see how they dealt with that issue here. The seven who have been added over the years are of those whose families showed that they were from Arkansas but may have moved elsewhere. These, then may well be listed on other memorials in other places, too. This speaks, I think, to a phenomenon that I have referenced before; we have gone, over the years, from being ignored to being honored in many ways and it seems places!

I wrote a couple of months back that 10 additional names were added to the Wall in D.C. this past May. It seems that no matter how hard the planners try, some are always added later. Some of you may know that I am involved with trying to build a memorial in my town; I hope that we are able to include all that were lost the first time around.

I mentioned in the last post that I had talked with the Historian for Arkansas. One of the things he told me was that a name had been added, this year, to the War of 1812 memorial on the grounds! So, for those of us who care and believe that remembrance of the sacrifice of others in important, the work goes on.

Next time, on the 14th, we will visit a Medal of Honor memorial on the same grounds as the Vietnam Memorial. Nick Bacon, the last living MOH awardee (from Arkansas) died in 2008, but his story should be told forever. Check it out at 9:00am on the 14th.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Arkansas


The Arkansas Vietnam Memorial is located on the Capitol grounds in Little Rock. It sits and dominates a corner at an intersection and is quite beautiful and imposing at the same time.

Entering from the front, you are guided by walls that envelope the inner memorial. Once inside you are greeted by "The Grunt" and the reflective panels honoring the 662 lost and missing.

Approved and built (1983) while Bill Clinton was governor, it seems especially poignant, to me, because of all the heat he took for not serving and protesting the war. I know this is a sore spot for some, but I hold no grudges for those who were in school, the National Guard or were otherwise not involved. It is what it is. In all, very few actually served. The numbers are something like; 30 million in the services during the "Vietnam Era", 3 million served in 'Nam (roughly 1 and 1/2 percent of the total population at the time) and about 10% of those were the actual guys fighting. At the time, 8 or 9 out of every 10 guys in country were in some kind of support role. These numbers are not exact, but they are pretty close. So,one and 1/2 percent of Americans went to 'Nam in some capacity. Most (98 and 1/2%) found a way out, he just took a lot of heat.

Having said all that, the memorial is quite stirring. The Grunt has that 10,000 mile stare in his eyes. Like so many of us he has seen more than he expected. He has seen too much.

The Memorial is easily found by taking the 6th Street exit from I-30 and driving west approximately 20 blocks to the State capitol grounds. Free, curbside parking is normally available near the Memorial on Woodlane Street.

 
Next time, I will take you further inside the memorial to check out some of the details and then over the next few weeks to other sites in Arkansas. As always, new posts "appear" every 5th day at 9:00am. so, I will see you the 9th at 9.

Update: I have just heard from the State Historian from Arkansas. He and his assistant just went out today to get a correct accounting of the number of names on the memorial. There are now 669. He says that there are no current plans to add any more but that there is space to do so if and when the need arises. He, also, told me he had just returned from a 150 mile trip to retrieve a box of documents that had been hurried away from the Capitol during the Civil War! These were hidden away for safe keeping and are just now being returned! It boggles the mind to imagine what might be found in this treasure trove of history.