Monday, November 29, 2010

Iowa III

The memorial here is along the river walk. It is beautiful in its simplicity and dignity. It commemorates the 13 lost in Vietnam. It honors these and notes a Medal of Honor awardee, too. The memorial sits at the foot of the 4th street bridge and is across the Cedar River from the town's other memorials.

Waterloo is known for being the hometown of the Sullivan brothers. All five of whom were killed on the USS Juneau during WWII. The town recently celebrated the opening of the Sullivan Brothers Museum.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Iowa II

The memorial in Red Oak, Iowa is in a small municipal park. It is similar to the Wall in D.C. in shape. The names of the six fallen, however, have been individually inscribed upon markers that sit at its base.

Red Oak has a long and distinguished history of service to the country. She has the painful distinction of having lost more sons (per capita) than any other city in America during WWII!

Each Memorial Day, more than 1000 flags fly in the town's Evergreen Cemetery honoring those who are gone.

The town holds services and ceremonies each Memorial Day and Veterans Day in the Park which has memorials to our other conflicts, as well.

The next stop is Waterloo.

Friday, November 19, 2010


The Iowa State Vietnam memorial is located on grounds of the beautiful State Capitol building. Located at 1007 E. Grand Ave in Des Moines, the memorial is to the right and behind the building.

Built in 1984 the semi circular memorial is meant to surround the visitor as they gaze at the 869 names and their own reflection in the polished stone. The names are listed in alphabetical order for ease in finding any particular one. The site is said to be "like the Wall, but different." It is meant to be more approachable, intimate, and less overpowering. I read that there were names added after the fact on plaques but I did not see them when I visited. Also, there is a Field Cross (inverted rifle, helmet) and all service insignias on the reverse of the memorial. It was too over grown to be able to get a good picture.

There is a nice story that the creator of the monument, Tim Salisbury, donated the prize money he won for his design to the memorial fund.

From Des Moines the next site is in Red Oak.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

New York IV

An easy drive from Albany is Troy. We found this great site in Riverfront Park along side the Hudson River.

Located near the intersection of 3rd and Front Street, the site is dedicated to the 45 men from Rensselear County who paid the ultimate price for freedom.

The site consists of three components.

First is the wall which styled after a sandbagged bunker. The names of the 45 sons of Rensselear county are ever honored here. In addition, the following speaks to the brotherhood that is everlasting with vets.

"We shall be remembered: As children we played, as men we fought, as brothers we will always be together."

Second is the 10 foot tall statue of three soldiers representing all services and years of the war. Called The Vietnam Experience; Courage, Compassion, Pain, it attempts, beautifully I think, to capture each of these in the warriors depicted here. Note the detail on the dog tags (pic 5). Early participants in the war taped them together to prevent noise while in the bush. Later, the military issued tags with rubber edges for the same purpose. I am always glad to note when someone has done their homework at these sites. The sculptor certainly did on this one.

Third is a forty link chain from a destroyer that served in 'Nam. The links of chain were sold for $1,000 each to raise funds for the site. When I visited, I could find no evidence of the chain and I have no explanation for why it was not there.

Nearby this site are two other interesting memorials. The first is to James Connolly, the Irish Freedom fighter and Labor Leader, who was executed in 1916 by the British for his participation in the Easter Rising. He is noted for saying "Be men now, or be forever slaves" He lived in Troy for a while and is remembered here.

Just beyond that is a statue of the original Uncle Sam (Sam Wilson, 1766-1854) who came from Troy, too. His likeness has become synonymous with our vision of Uncle Sam. The story goes that as a meat packer when he supplied meat to the government he would mark the barrels of meat with a "U.S." which became Uncle Sam and the rest as they say, is history

From here, I move on to Iowa.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day

This site, as you know, is dedicated to honoring Vietnam veteran's by visiting, photographing, and writing about memorials to the those who served. Today, however, it seems more than fitting to remember that we are not alone in our service. Our ancestors have earned the respect of us all through all the years of our history. And, now, our children fight in distant lands. They, too, shall be remembered.

Veteran's Day began as Armistice Day. At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918 hostilities ceased (an armistice) in The Great War. The peace treaty was actually signed quite sometime later. In 1938 Armistice Day was made a federal holiday and later, after WWII and Korea the name was changed to Veteran's Day to honor all vets of all wars. There are more than 23 million American vets today.

You can find much more information about Veteran's Day here;

I was in Richmond, Virginia and stopped to see the Virginia War Memorial. It is a magnificent site that honors all Veterans. I thought it would be good to include this wonderful site here, too. Expansion of the original 1956 site was just completed this last July. I had stopped by then but could not get any pictures or info as there was too much construction equipment, etc in the area. Today, it is nearly complete and one of the staff kindly showed me all around. The Vietnam portion of the lists of names is etched upon the glass wall of the Shrine of Memory, as it is called. The names from other wars are etched upon the facing stone wall. The statue is called "Memory" and she stands with The Torch of Liberty, an eternal flame, at her feet. She watches over the 11,634 names etched here for all time. The Torch represents "patriotism that is everlasting." The site, also, boasts a Flag Court and Rose Gardens. The Shrine is open 365 days a year with the auditoriums, visitor center and gift shops open 'til 4 pm. It is located on route 1 (621 Belvidere Street) just north of the Robert E. Lee Bridge.

You can find more information here;

I, also, visited Virginia Beach this week and came upon this beautiful memorial to all veterans. It is based upon the ideas of three local high school students who participated in a design contest. It depicts how the world is split by war, and how some pieces of our world, our selves (our humanity?) are lost forever. There are a number of flags, including U.S., Va., all Military Services flags, a special Tidewater Veteran's Flag. A POW/MIA Flag will fly until all are accounted for.

This memorial sits at 1000, 19th street, in Virginia Beach, Va.

There is much more information regarding the memorial at this site;

If you see a vet today, say "Thanks"

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

New York III

The New York City Vietnam memorial is really quite something. Located in a renamed park at 55 Water Street right near Wall Street it provides a beautiful respite for New Yorkers.

It lists the names of the 1741 of New York's best who lost their lives in the war. Their names are listed on steles that line the 125 foot Walk Of Honor.

The wall itself is made up of greenish glass blocks on which is inscribed the words from news accounts of the day, letters, and poems of those remembered and honored here. In addition, various plaques and a map of Vietnam adorn the site.

One of the things that stands out for me about this site is that it is filled with people. Usually, when I visit a site, I am the only one there. So, this one felt "alive" and I must say that I liked it. The site provides numerous benches for people to use and being in the middle of a very densely utilized area helps, I am sure. The site is, also, very restful as it contains a pulsating water feature, trees, and a view of the river.

Much more information and history may be found here;

Next stop, beautiful Troy New york.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

New York II

Located directly across the street bordering the other side of the state house (from the New York State Memorial) is this city memorial. It is located in a beautiful park and honors and commemorates those from Albany who made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam. 55 names are listed on the original plaque. Two more were added later on a plaque adjacent to the memorial.

This memorial is located in a park directly bounded on two sides by Washington Ave. and Hawk Street. There is parking on Washington Ave.

From here, New York city is next.