Sunday, October 31, 2010

In memorium

Long time readers of this site will remember that I lost my younger brother last year. In fact, one year ago today.

In the ensuing year I have had much time to think about all this and this what I have learned.

Be the best brother (or sister) you can be!

I have spent a lot of time this last twelve months regretting that I did not do so! It is not that I was a bad brother, just not a very good one. I spent too much time thinking about where we differed, rather than about where we agreed. I spent too much time rehearsing arguments and points of view, rather than just saying "I love you" and to hell with our disagreements!

Some of you are feuding with family. Stop it! Forget the argument, the difference, the slight (real or imagined) Say "I'm sorry" or whatever it takes to mend the rift. You will not regret it.

And, if something terrible and unexpected happens, you will not spend the rest of your life wondering if it had to be, or if you could have done something to make it better, wishing that you had said "Denny, I love you" one more time rather than "Denny, I miss you and I wish I had been a better brother", forever.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

New York

In Albany, Empire State Plaza. In a courtyard near the Justice Building, are four bronze panels with the 4,123 names of those from New York who were killed in Vietnam. Located inside the building is the Memorial Gallery. The gallery serves as a resource center and an exhibit area, which hosts changing display related to all American wars and veterans issues. The New York State Office of General Services oversees the Memorial Gallery.

Located directly across the street from the State House, this site is tucked in a small plaza area, back from the street. We had to ask a nearby Security Guard where to find it. It would be easy to walk by if you were not aware of where it is.

As seen in the photos, it is also visible from the surrounding plaza area above it. The slope is so steep in this area that it lends itself well to this layout. The area is a beautiful place with its mixture of modern and historic buildings.

Next, I go to the Albany city memorial, nearby.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Minnesota IV

This memorial is located in a park along the lake in Winona, Mn. It is but one of a number of memorials within the park including Gold Star Mothers and POW/MIA sites.

The inscription on the memorial reads;


In addition, the memorial totals the statistics from Vietnam and these, of course, vary by the information known at the time the memorial was built.

Note that this site specifies 1958 as the beginning of the war and, also, note the pavers surrounding the wall that helped pay for it. The gazebo behind the first picture is used for some of the ceremonies held here each year.

On Veterans day a 24 hour vigil is held along with brief ceremonies to honor all who are remembered in this lovely setting.

The park is located on Lake Park Drive and Park Drive in Winona, Minnesota.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Minnesota III

The memorial in Duluth, Minnesota is called the Northland Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It sits on a beautiful lake walk area between a railroad track and lake Superior. It faces to the east and catches the sun as it rises. The light boxes allow the sun to flow across the names enshrined here; recognizing and honoring each one, each day.

The Northland Memorial, built like a bunker, protects those who are silently here while allowing visitors to honor them in inclement weather. A light shines to the sky at night to guide home the POWs and MIAs who have not yet returned to the Northland and their families and loved ones.

The five "fingers" seen in the third picture bear the insignias of and represent the five branches of the military. It is also said that these represent a wave coming from Lake Superior and the bunker is protecting the wall and the names within.

Dedicated on May 30, 1992, the site has an information stand that tells its story. Two passages from it stand out for me.

"Read their names, read them in a whisper, read them with your fingertips, read them with your eyes, read them in your heart; however you do it; they will hear you."


"They are heroes in our minds,
men in our eyes and
beloved in our hearts."

The Northland memorial, while in Duluth, honors those from 6 Minnesota and two Wisconsin counties.

If in Duluth I believe that anyone could direct you to this amazing site. It is in lakeside park and is near the old Fitgers building

Friday, October 15, 2010

Minnesota II

The first place I stopped in Minnesota was Stillwater. I met the fellow from the St. Paul planning committee here and he showed me the memorial in town.

As you can see, it is a bit unusual. When I asked him about the design, he said, "just take a look around!" As I slowly turned about and surveyed the surrounding town, the reason became obvious. The memorial is reflective of the spires seen in the architecture throughout Stillwater. I could find no good way to photograph the town to clearly show this, but it is quite remarkable as you stand there. Not only are there spires in churches, as expected, but also in the design of a number of other buildings in the town.

This memorial is a Veterans memorial but seems to be predominately Vietnam. When there was discussion about what to call the war, it was my friend who came up with "The Helicopter War" as seen on the plaque in the second picture. I have never met anyone who was in country who does not say they can still here a "Huey" coming from miles and miles away.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


I had the great fortune of hooking up with a fellow who was on the planning committee for the Minnesota Vietnam Memorial. He met me in a neighboring town and showed me the memorial there (more on that, later) before taking me on to St. Paul to see the state site.

The site in St. Paul is one of those that has had every detail thought out and meticulously planned.

The general layout of the site is in the shape of the State including Lake Superior and the lower Mississippi River with a massive dark green granite wall bearing the 1125 names of Minnesota's fallen.

The plaza area created by the wall and surrounds is made up of 68,000 squares of (mostly white) tiles representing each of those who served. Within this layout are 1125 dark green squares denoting each of the fallen or MIA. These are placed in the correct geographic location for each hero. So, one sees many around Minneapolis-St. Paul and other population centers and single squares in other areas denoting, honoring, one lost soul.

Facing the wall is the facade of a home to which those listed here will never return.

If you look carefully at the right side of the wall you can see that it appears to be lighter in color than the rest. This is due to vandalism which when repaired caused this aberration. By the time the funds were raised to repair the repair this lightening had become part of character of the site and it was decided to leave it as is. When I first saw it I thought it was a patch of sun light, illuminating the names. My friend told me that others had described it in the same way.

After the years of planning, funds raising, planning and work, the wall was unveiled on September 25th 1992 and dedicated the next day. On this wall the dates begin in 1962 as that is when the first of Minnesota's heroes fell. During these ceremonies the bells of the magnificent St. Paul's Cathedral pealed, speeches were made, songs were sung and hearts were put on the path to healing.

Minnesota has honored her lost with great beauty, dignity and respect. If you have the opportunity, see it and do the same.

You can find it on the State Capitol grounds at 108 Aurora Ave, St Paul, Minnesota and you can find more info here;

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Virginia VI

As promised, I made it back to Triangle, Va. home of the Quantico Marine Base and the Marine Corp Museum.

This time I was able to locate the"Ugly Angels" memorial up near the Chapel that sits on the hill nearby. I was surprised to see that it is bigger than I had guessed from viewing another photograph. I would guess that it is about 5 feet by three. I got to wondering about the name and took the following from the website. The URL follows the story.

Many stories have been told through the years of how the squadron received the name Ugly Angels, but only a few have proven to be true. It is said that the helicopter herself was so ugly, yet she was called an angel because she descended from the heavens to save the souls of her war weary men. It has also been told that a Marine while being rescued made the statement: " You are the ugliest angel I have ever seen", and from there the name was adopted the "Ugly Angels". Before the squadron gained their well-known name they were referred to as Archie's Angels, after their first commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Archie Clapp. They arrived in Vietnam in April of 1962 and answered the prayers of many wounded Marines until August of 1969. The Ugly Angels were the longest serving squadron in Vietnam and during a seven-year service, 33 brave crewmen gave the ultimate sacrifice for their fellow Marines. For every one of the 33 men who lost their lives, a great number were saved. It is at this moment that we as a nation should realize that freedom is never free!

You can find much more information here;

The memorial is, also, called the "Broken Wing" (see the third picture) and it memorializes the 33 men lost in 'Nam. Their names, rank, and date they were lost are listed on the half aviator's wing.

The other picture is of a memorial that sits just across the walk from the "Ugly Angels" It, as can be seen is to a number of marine involvements, not just Vietnam, but, I liked it.