Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Illinois VII

Just a few feet from the Morgan County Vietnam Memorial in Nichols Park is a POW/MIA memorial. It is elegant in its simplicity. No names are recorded here and it is not specific to any war. What makes it particularly interesting to me is that it is the result of an Eagle Scouts desire to honor those still unaccounted for. There are approximately 88,000 MIAs from WWII to the present and when I was in Alabama a couple of years ago, I read that there are 188,00 MIAs from all of our history. I do not know if that is accurate, but I don't think the total number is what is important. What is important is that we remember these and consider the fact that there will always be those who are lost and never accounted for in any war. And we should remember it the most as we deciding to send our men and women into harms way, again.

I am trying to track down the young man who is behind this memorial. If I reach him, I will update with any new and interesting information.

Update. I spoke to the young mans father today and he explained that his son was part of the actual project construction. He was only 14 at the time but was allowed to participate in a number of the activities necessary to ready and complete the memorial. His father promised to have him get in touch. If this happens prior to this posting I will include and new, pertinent, or interesting material here.

Update II. I had a very nice conversation with the young man who was instrumental in the placing of this memorial. Now, 24, he was a 14 year old seeking his Eagle Scout status. He approached the Parks and Lakes committee of Jacksonville and they told him they wanted a POW/MIA memorial for the park. An Eagle Scout project requires that the candidate demonstrate Leadership skills and be responsible for the planning and implementation of the project. He told me that he still has a book filled with documentation on items like the planning, hours worked by those building the project and other numerous details. He told me that the fund raising for the project was more than successful and they were able to create a fund for perpetual care of the site, in addition to the addition of the flags and lights at a time after the actual dedication of the memorial. Funding came from a variety of veteran's groups, individuals and others. He served on the committee that saw the project through from inception to completion and that he is very pleased with the results. He is now living in Chicago after completing college there.On behalf of Vietnam vets and all vets everywhere, I thank him for his involvement, determination and compassion.

1 comment:

  1. What an amazing young man! I am so glad you got to speak to him. And how nice for him to know that his project does, indeed, touch people - and that those lost are not forgotten - ever.