Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independance Day, Wall Information

Rather than single out a specific memorial today, I thought it might be a good idea to reflect on what has been the cost of our way of life. Since this site is dedicated to the Vietnam veteran, I will confine myself to them today.

I found an interesting site the other day. It is part of the Virtual Wall project and is loaded with fascinating facts regarding the Wall and those upon it.

Below are just a few examples of what I found.

The first American soldier killed in the Vietnam War was Air Force T-Sgt. Richard B. Fitzgibbon Jr. He is listed by the U.S. Department of Defense as having a casualty date of June 8, 1956. His name was added to the Wall on Memorial Day 1999. Note that I have found NO site that includes 1956 as one of the years of the war. It is a fact that the first Americans were sent to Vietnam in 1955, but as you may have read on this site in the past, there are many different interpretations of how long we were involved in Vietnam.

The youngest person listed on the Wall is 15 years old, the oldest was 67.

There are 22 different countries represented.

There are 120 non US citizens.

Thomas Edison High School in Philadelphia sustained the largest number of Vietnam war casualties of any high school in the nation with 54.

Corporal Thomas W. Bennett of Morgantown, West Virginia was a U.S. Army medic and was the only conscientious objector to be awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam war. He was killed in action on February 11, 1969.

West Virgina had the highest per capita losses in the war

In Memory Day Since the war in Vietnam came to an end, there has been a growing sense among many veterans and their families that those who served in this nation's longest war have suffered and are continuing to suffer premature deaths related to their service. These deaths have been attributed to exposure to Agent Orange, post- traumatic stress disorder, and a growing list of other causes. (AO is now recognized as the cause of Diabetes and currently 21 different types of Cancer)

I was recently contacted by Sharon Perry who runs an Agent Orange related organization. They are lobbying for a memorial to be built to remember all those who have died from or are suffering from the devastating effects of AO. If you are interested in more information, check here;

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund's In Memory Day program honors those who died as a result of the Vietnam War, but whose deaths do not fit the Department of Defense criteria for inclusion upon the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Every year there is a ceremony to pay tribute to these men and women who sacrificed so much for their country. The ceremony is held on the third Monday in April — In Memory Day.

To learn more, visit the In Memory Program website.

Go here, for more information about the virtual wall and the statistics I used above;

Have a glorious 4th of July, but take just a minute to remember what our freedom and Independence have cost.

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