Thursday, January 27, 2011

Vermont V

We found this park in Waterbury.

In a small park we found memorials to several wars including Vietnam. Built in 2000, this memorial lists all who served. KIAs and MIAs are designated by stars. There are 238 listed as having served. One MIA is honored here.

We met a lady who runs a mobile Hot Dog stand. She told us that she had been working this spot in the park for 18 years! She, also, told us that the Garden Club used to care for the site and worked diligently to keep it beautiful and fully in bloom, in season. She was a little unhappy that someone else had taken over the responsibility and was not keeping it up to previous standards. She explained that some of the flowers formed a large red star at one time. You can still see the red flowers but there is little sign that they ever formed a star.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Vermont IV

The memorial in Rutland was born from one man's depression and another's determination to see the project through.

Vet John Reno, like so many of us, had struggled with his memories, flashbacks and depression. He chose to work through these by pursuing his artistic vision. In 1981 he decided to work through his anger, to work off his pain. He began working on an abandoned piece of marble from an old plant. This would be his way out.

A tragic accident in 1982 ended his dream along with his life and the marble was forgotten. Then in 1995 John Bergeron, another Vietnam vet, went hunting for, and found the art work. This, then became the focal point of the Rutland Memorial. A local artist, Don Ramey, completed the piece as a tribute to all vets.

Described by some as a Frozen Soldier, it is Located in a median strip park it is not hard to locate on S. Main St., Rutland, VT
South side of downtown. West side of US Hwy 7/4, between Washington St. and Killington Ave.
Sponsored by VVA, chapter 1, Rutland and was made possible by many contributions from individuals and businesses, it was dedicated on Memorial Day, 2000.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Vermont III

Driving the beautiful back roads of Vermont, one happens across many small towns. It is unusual to not find some kind of remembrance to local sons and daughters who served or were lost in our nation's wars.

This one in South Royalton lists the names of those who served in various wars. There is no explanation of the symbols, but one assumes that the star next to a name indicates they were lost. Thankfully, none of the 79 men and women listed here have the star that many of their brothers and sisters from other conflicts bear next to their names.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Vermont II

Located near by is this memorial to all from Sharon. In a small park, it sits in quite remembrance of generations of Americans who have given their all, for whatever the cause.

Friday, January 7, 2011


The story of the memorial for the state of Vermont has some unusual twists and turns in the telling.

Thought by many to be the first State sponsored site it nearly was lost forever. Built at a rest area on Interstate 89, Vietnam Veteran's memorial Highway, about 138 miles from the Canadian border. The site struck a nerve as 138 of Vermont's citizens were lost in the war. Their names are listed on the granite monument on site. The area is also reminiscent of Vietnam's highlands and felt familiar to many. Interstate 89 is also the road to the Veteran's Hospital in White river Junction and was often traveled by vets and their families.

The site was dedicated two weeks before the Wall in D. C. and by the mid 90's the facilities were failing. The Sharon rest area, and others, were slated for closure. The memorial would be lost.

Vietnam Veterans of America, Vermont Chapter, vets, and many others fought to keep the site open. The government listened and pledged to keep the memorial open. Working with the vets a new center was designed and built, and opened in 2005. A unique feature of the new site is its geothermal heating and cooling system. Visitors can walk through this "Living Machine" and see it at work and admire the many beautiful and exotic plants that flourish inside the greenhouse structure. The last photo is from the inside of the "Living Machine"

Inside the new visitors center one can view many photos from 'Nam, see the names of all who served (7,236) and visit a small museum of artifacts gathered over time. A triple time-line listing National, Vermont, and War events helps tell the story.

Described as a place "To Grieve, To Honor and To Learn" the center is a magnificent tribute to those who served.

Gold Star Mother Louise Ransom said the following at the initial dedication on October 30, 1982

"We will remember how they
looked the last time we saw them.
We will remember also the weddings never attended,
the houses never built,
the children never born,
the fields never plowed,
books never written
and the songs never sung."

Another element I liked was the white marble blocks set into the wall. There are 138 and are used for candles during ceremonies or left by family and friends. You can see them in the second and third pictures.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


My final stop in Iowa was in Council Bluffs. The memorial here is in Bayless Park and is one of a number at this Veteran's Plaza site. Backed by a beautiful fountain, the memorial consists of a statue of a fatigue clad soldier on a pedestal. Perhaps he is standing guard over the 30 lost sons of Pottawatamie County whose names are forever inscribed on two sides of the pedestal and again on the wall running behind him. This wall commemorates a number of wars and features life sized statues of mourners along the walk.

The park is located at the corner of Pearl and First Streets in Council Bluffs and is well worth a visit should you ever have the opportunity.