Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Jersey 2

These faces remind me of the memorial in D.C. I have beautiful portrait photographs of the D.C. ones that were given to me a number of years ago.

The New Jersey site is also the home of the Vietnam Era Education Center. The building is a short walk from the memorial and serves as a Visitor Center and resource center for anyone seeking info about the war and those who served.

The following is taken directly from the Center's web site.

"The Educational Center was planned to augment the Memorial and help visitors gain a better understanding of the war in Southeast Asia and the surrounding political strife in America. It compliments the solemnity of the Memorial with a dynamic and lively learning environment."

You can find out more info (and I urge you to visit) at;

In addition, the site is home to the Women Veterans Meditation Garden, a beautiful and fitting tribute. The site is a garden area with a variety of flowers and plantings along with benches, peace and solitude.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

New Jersey

The official memorial for New Jersey is located in Holmdel, exit 116 off the Garden State Parkway at the Garden State Arts Center.

One enters the memorial through passages in the berm supporting it, so, once you have entered, you are completely enclosed by the monument. There are a couple of components to the site. There is a striking statue of a wounded soldier being tended by a nurse. He is reaching out to his friend who is nearby. This is yet another example of the recognition of the comradeship between races and genders created by Vietnam. As mentioned previously, this is a common theme at these sites. The statue is shaded by a Red Oak, the New Jersey State tree.

The statue is surrounded by a large circular wall. The wall consists of 366 panels (one for each day of the year) on which are inscribed the names of the 1562 who never returned. Each one is listed on the panel that corresponds to the day on which the hero perished.

A walkway leads one past every panel. That the site is a place for reflection is underscored by the actual reflection of the panels. Being circular creates a never ending reflection of the panels and the visitor, who is now deeply enmeshed in the memorial.

There is also a walkway approaching the monument, many of the stones are marked and engraved with names.

The following was taken directly from the memorial website.

"... The pavilion contains many symbols. Its circular form enfolds the names engraved upon the wall in its embrace. The highly polished granite wall reflects the visitor, creating a special and unique union. The tunnel entrances symbolize the transition from the safety and security of our world to the very different realities of war. The trees lining the walkways to the entrance evoke images of soldiers on tactical road patrol throughout the dangerous countryside. At the center of the pavilion, our official state tree, the red oak, symbolizes the state that many soldiers left and never returned to. The tree gives shade to the returning veterans, sheltering them, while at the same time leaves them exposed to other elements. Finally, the three bronze figures under the tree represent men and women of all races and backgrounds - symbolizing those who came home, the women who served and, those who did not return."

More on this site, soon.

Friday, December 18, 2009


Pennsylvania, like a number of other states, seems to have no "official" memorial. Having said this, I have found that there are several spread throughout the state. This one, in Philadelphia, is just one of a number I hope to see. On my wish list are Pittsburgh, Red Lion and more.

The designer of the Philadelphia site said he hoped to honor the memory of those who had been killed in the war, as well as provide a place of contemplation for those who had returned. To do this, he created two facing walls- a curved one inscribed with the names of all killed in action, facing a straight one engraved with scenes from the war, beginning to end.

The two walls, which create an amphitheater like setting, are composed of polished gray granite, selected by the designer and quarried in Minnesota. The scenes, along with the names, were then sandblasted into the stones' surface.

The Name Panels
The southern wall containing all 647 names is concave and slightly raised in the center. It is placed on a slightly higher plane than the opposing north wall which is inscribed with the various scenes.

The Scenes Panel
Based on sketches by a Temple University graduate student, each of the eight scenes measures seven feet by five feet and is thirteen inches thick. They are arranged in chronological order from left to right and depict scenes beginning with aircraft launching from a carrier (1964) to the fall of Saigon in 1975.

In addition, there are the military insignias, a map of Vietnam and a world map inscribed at the site.

The memorial is located in the Penn's Landing area, at Front and Spruce Streets. This area has a number of memorials and monuments, including a very moving tribute to the Irish, who came to Pennsylvania and worked in the coalmines.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I happened to be in Mississippi when we discovered the memorial. It is located a few miles east of Biloxi in a town called Ocean Springs. It was the very first one I photographed and has lead to all the rest, so it is special to me.

Another thing that makes it special is that it was built at the request of the local Vietnamese community who wanted to say thank you for our efforts in their homeland. The site is, also, dedicated to the 68,000 living vets and states that "... our nation is made stronger by their service, sacrifice, courage, valor and honor."

The memorial consists of an open air building that contains all the names of those who perished or are missing (667, which includes 18 MIA) etched beneath likenesses. A number of the names are below blank spaces where a likeness could not be found. Information on site requests that anyone who might have such a picture forward it to MVVMC for inclusion. It struck me, while there (last Feb), that Biloxi and the surrounding area are still devastated by Katrina and that if all of these names and faces had not been etched into the granite stones, they might have been lost, forever.

The site is located in a small park that has other memorials in it, also. It contains walking paths, benches for reflection etc. In addition, there is a "Huey." It is located on Rte. 90, 3 and a half miles east of Washington Ave and is well marked.

MVVMC may be reached at

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Worcester, Mass is the home to the state memorial. I think it is one of the most beautiful sites I have visited. Located within a larger park, the area consists of a small lake, wooded and open walk ways, benches and plantings. There are three distinct sections of the memorial. they are called the Place of Flags, The Place of Names and the Place of Words.

The PLACE OF FLAGS is a beautifully landscaped, circular monument consisting of three flags: an American Flag, the State Flag of Massachusetts and a POW/MIA Flag. In addition, the dedication marker is located in the is area.

The PLACE OF WORDS displays text etched in granite, taken directly from hand-written letters home by a number of those who died while serving in Vietnam.

The PLACE OF NAMES lists all of the names of Massachusetts residents who died in combat or as a result of wounds received while in action in Vietnam, or are still MIA. This number totals 1327 heroes.

The exact location is on Skyline Drive at Green Hill Park.

Map this memorial.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Maryland 4

Also in Montgomery County, Md is Cristman Park. Located off Rte. 355 in Gaithersburg, the park is in a small community setting. There is a large rock with a plaque telling the story of how Lt. Cristman lost his life in 1965, trying to save his men.

In addition, there is a large, tall, monolithic, rough cut stone, with a plaque inscribed with the names of the eight from Gaithersburg who made the ultimate sacrifice.