Monday, November 14, 2011

California II

Once inside the memorial, the story of "a day in the life" is told through additional statuary and Bas Relief panels. The young soldier, reading his letter from home is surrounded by the realities of his current life and the war. Even though we referred to all else as "the world" thus making 'Nam not real, we knew what the reality really was and they are depicted here for all to see.

The first picture is of an unidentified POW as it sits wondering about his fate at the Hanoi Hilton, sitting next to him (picture two) is what is usually an empty bowl. The night before my visit it had rained and filled the bowl with water. I could not help but think about the conditions these heroes survived and the "food" they were given. The water made me think of a thin gruel that may have been a days ration.

Picture three is of some of the things guys might have had or treasured while in country. It took me a minute to realize that the figure in the back is a short timers calender of the dancing Snoopy! Snoopy and short timer calendars, along with the Huey chopper are some of the most iconic symbols of the time! For those who may not know, a short timers calendar was used by guys who were down to 100 days left in country. Like the religious Advent calendars some use, each day was marked off until you reached number one and were going home, back to "The World" These took any number of forms. Often something meaningful to the particular G.I. but more often something iconic, like Snoopy or something somewhat more graphic. Those who were there know and for the rest I'll let you imagine.

Picture 4 and 5 are of a couple of the daily life depictions from around the memorial. I think they require no explanation.

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