Thursday, September 30, 2010

Virginia V

I stopped at the Marine Corp Museum adjacent to the Marine base at Quantico, Va. The museum was closed, but I found this memorial to the Purple Foxes and those killed in the battle at Khe Sanh on the grounds. Individual tributes are found at the base of trees or on the bricks that make up the walkways. I have read that there are other memorials on site but I was unable to locate them. A guard at the museum said that he was unaware of where they might be. So, I will return when the museum is open and post the results later. The museum is particularly beautiful and while not specifically Vietnam, it deserves inclusion here, I think.

As to the design of the building, here is what the designer had to say;

Curstis Worth Fentress, the architect who designed the Museum, acknowledges that his primary inspiration for the design of the Museum came from the famous image of the raising of the American flag on Iwo Jima. However, as he states, the significance of the building’s design goes beyond simply mirroring that iconic image: “This Museum is a new icon. Whether it is Iwo Jima, rifles held at ready or independent iconography, the clean lines and modest materials are suggestive and reflective… engaging every visitor on a very personal and individual level.”
Taken from the museum web site.

To visit either the memorials or the museum go to;

18900 Jefferson Davis Highway
Triangle, Virginia 22172

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Three Servicemen, Washington, D.C.

The statue of The Three Servicemen (sometimes called The Three Soldiers) that is adjacent to the Wall in DC has recently undergone a renovation and restoration process. It was unveiled recently and I was forwarded a lengthy notice about the process and history of the project. I have tried repeatedly to post all that information here but there is something (for the life of me I can't figure out what!) in the text that prevents it from posting when I attempt to do so. So, I gave up. At least for a while. I kept looking at that unposted piece and decided to give this a try as a compromise.

These links will take you to info and pictures of the newly completed work. The pictures above are some that I took about a year ago. In them you can see some of the aging and damage that has now been repaired.

This takes you to the article about the project

This one shows a close-up of the completed work

Monday, September 20, 2010

Virginia IV

I noticed a sign for Front Royal, Virginia while driving through the area. This area is well known for its proximity to the famous Skyline Drive. Thousands upon thousands of people flock here every year to witness the the majestic change of colors in the fall.

It seemed to me that such an area should have a Vietnam memorial of some type. I was not disappointed. On the corner of Main St. and Royal Ave. I found this memorial. It is a duel purpose site honoring the fallen heroes of both Vietnam and Korea. There is also a plaque to a local Medal of Honor awardee. The site also has a small remembrance of those lost on September 11th.

Once again, to repeat a recurring theme, I was saddened by the number of people in the town who could not tell me if there was a memorial or where it was if one existed.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Virginia III

Deep in the Shenandoah Valley is the Virginia town of Winchester. I had read that there was a memorial in the town but had not seen any pictures of the site. I went not knowing exactly what to expect. I was more than excited to find this great memorial.

This is actually a POW/MIA memorial and the level of local participation really stood out at this site. The 62 POW/MIA from Virginia are lovingly honored here. Those who have been repatriated and a Medal of Honor winner are designated with symbols on the black granite wall. The granite for the wall came from Georgia and the gray stone for the pavers was mined in South Dakota. The pavers, all around the plaza, were placed by local businesses and residents. One of the first to step up and participate was the local Harley-Davidson dealership.

When one enters the site, it is 31 steps, on the walkway of local stone, from the entrance around the circle of benches to directly in from of the wall. 31 in each direction for a total of 62, to honor the 62 whose memory will be remembered here, forever.

The site was proposed, designed, and for the most part, actually built by Rolling Thunder, Chapter 1, of Winchester. The group proposed the site in 2004 with a desire to have it completed by Veterans Day of 2005. Many thought this to be an impossible task. However, the dedication on the proposed date silenced all doubt that it could be done. Winchester's Mayor and more than 500 local citizens and Vets were on hand to honor those whose names are inscribed on this wall. Another interesting fact is that no government funds of any kind were used. The $350,000 needed was raised from private donations and on the day of the dedication there was not one penny owed to anyone! In addition, a perpetual care fund was established and later for a variety of reasons was abandoned. So, now, fund raisers have been held and pavers sold to keep this memorial in beautiful the condition it so rightly deserves.

One of the original planners of the site was killed in an accident last year and a memorial fund to support the upkeep of the site was established in his name. If you would like to contribute, or buy a paver, contact the address below;

The Jim Burkins memorial Fund
for the POW/MIA Memorial
C/O Winchester Parks Foundation
1001 E. Cork Street
Winchester, VA 22601

4 x 8 pavers are $100
24 x 24 are $1000.

This is a 501C3 organization, so these contributions are tax deductible.

The memorial is located in;
Jim Barnett Park
1001 E. Cork Street
Winchester, VA 22601

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Virginia II

This memorial is located in Culpeper, Va. and is called "The Piedmont Area Vietnam Veterans Memorial."

As with so many the memorial started as one mothers attempt to honor her son and 18 other fallen heroes from the area, as well as, all those who served. This was to be a memorial to the living as well as the dead. After the usual discussion, planning, fund raising, site selection et al, the monument was created.

The plan was to dedicate it on Veteran's Day 1997, but as it was being placed a portion fell over and the memorial was destroyed! Everything had to stop. Because the memorial was insured, all was not lost. The memorial was reordered and arrived in time to be placed and dedicated on Memorial Day 1998.

The whole process of inception to dedication took 16 years. A tribute to the dedication of a mother and the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 752!

There is a much more detailed telling of this story, here;

Saturday, September 4, 2010


The memorial dedicated to Virginians lost in Vietnam seems to have caused much controversy during its inception. Vietnam vets envisioned the new memorial in Newport News, largely due to the fact that the "Victory Arch" is located in the city center. However, some WWII vets opposed this as they feared the site would become a "memorial park"

After many meetings and continued controversy it was decided that the memorial would be built at the Virginia War Museum, where it was believed it would receive more exposure and be visited by more people. The museum welcomed the new memorial with open arms and fund raising was continued by the memorial foundation, Vietnam vet organizations and a local POW/MIA group.

Groundbreaking for the site was on August 4, 1990 and the dedication, one year later, on August 3, 1991. The surrounding plaza was dedicated the following year on August 1, 1992.

The memorial itself is a five sided granite pylon with one of the five service emblems engraved on each side. All sides bear the POW/MIA insignia and the words, "We honor those who gave their best"

A few yards away is an eternal flame which bears the dedication plaque and the plaza area has markers from a number of local organizations and individuals.

There is also a time capsule which is to be opened in 2041.

Another unique feature is that there are no names upon this memorial. The names of the 1304 Virginians who perished are instead listed at the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond, among the 11,600 honored there. I went to the site in Richmond but there is major work being done on it and it was closed to the public.

The Virginia Vietnam Memorial is located in Huntington Park, adjacent to the Virginia War Museum. The museum is located at 9285 Warwick Blvd., Newport News, Va 23607