Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

This is a special post. Kansas will resume on June 1st at 9:00am.

Virtually every word I write on this site is to remember those who gave all. This says it just as well!

I copied the following, verbatim, from Wikipedia.

Memorial Day is a federal holiday observed annually in the United States on the last Monday of May.[1] Formerly known as Decoration Day, it originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the fallen Union soldiers of the Civil War. (Southern ladies organizations and southern schoolchildren had decorated Confederate graves in Richmond and other cities during the Civil War, but each region had its own date. Most dates were in May.) By the 20th century Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died in all wars. Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.[2] As a marker it typically marks the start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end.

By the early 20th century, Memorial Day was an occasion for more general expressions of memory, as people visited the graves of their deceased relatives in church cemeteries, whether they had served in the military or not. It also became a long weekend increasingly devoted to shopping, family gatherings, fireworks, trips to the beach, and national media events such as the Indianapolis 500 auto race, held since 1911 on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.[3]

Annual Decoration Days for particular cemeteries are held on a Sunday in late spring or early summer in some rural areas of the American South, notably in the mountains. In cases involving a family graveyard where remote ancestors as well as those who were deceased more recently are buried, this may take on the character of an extended family reunion to which some people travel hundreds of miles. People gather on the designated day and put flowers on graves and renew contacts with kinfolk and others. There often is a religious service and a "dinner on the ground," the traditional term for a pot-luck meal in which people used to spread the dishes out on sheets or tablecloths on the grass. It is believed that this practice began before the American Civil War and thus may reflect the real origin of the "memorial day" idea.

Read the rest at;

Welcome Rolling Thunder!
25th Anniversary

An estimated 1,000,000 vets will roll into D.C. this weekend for the 25th Anniversary of Rolling Thunder. My heart is with them, but, neither my bike nor I are road worthy this year, we will both be there next year if all goes as planned!

These stats need to be updated, yet they still tell the story!

Ten more names were added to The Wall on may 13, 2012

CPL Frank A. Neary, U.S. Marine Corp, Ocean, NJ
PFC Johnny Owen Brooks, U.S. Army, Stockton, CA
PFC Larry Morgan Kelly, U.S. Army, Akron, OH
SP4 David Lawrence Deckard, U.S. Army, Louisville, KY
ATC Joseph William Aubin, U.S. Navy, Bridgeport, CT
ATR3 Richard Carl Hunt, U.S. Navy, Guys Mills, PA
LT Walter Allan Linzy, U.S. Navy, Nashville, AR
ATR3 Richard Dwaine Stocker, U.S. Navy, Jacksonville, AR
LTJG David McLean Desilets, U.S. Navy, Palm Desert, CA
AN Albert Kalahana Kuewa, U.S. Navy, Honolulu, HI

This brings the total to 58,282

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Kansas V

Antioch Park is 44 acres of beauty in Merriam, Kansas. Within this beautiful oasis is a Vietnam memorial. It is said to be the first in the area and while its honors the fallen, it also has some unique features. Created by the well known sculptor, Leon Lickteig, it features a wall with the honored names, rocks that represent the mountains of Vietnam and also the back of the dragon! The dragon itself surrounds the flagpole in the center of the site. The flora of Vietnam are also featured, etched in the concrete of the plaza.

The fourth photo attempts to show the dragon encircling the flag pole but I did not have a wide enough lens to capture it very well.

Note the eye of the dragon as highlighted in the final picture. It is the silhouette of the face from the POW/MIA flag! Brilliant!

Come back on Monday for a special Memorial Day post.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Kansas IV

Begun as a tribute to a fallen classmate, this site evolved into a memorial for all who had fought in Vietnam from Kansas. Inspired by a trip to The Wall in DC, the local high school class of '63 wanted to remember their classmates and eventually decided to honor all from the state.

This Wall lists 777 lost or MIA while the state memorial in Junction City lists 791. One of the interesting things about this project is the frequent discoveries of conflicting information. As I have written before, the span of the war is viewed differently by different groups and obviously as new information is gathered, sites are updated. Or perhaps not. I have a call into the city of Winfield where this memorial is located to try to determine if this site has or will be updated. If I get any new info I will be sure to post it. Regardless, it is a beautiful site that sits in a park just adjacent to City Hall. The exact address in 401 East Ninth Street, Winfield, Kansas. I think it is very beautiful and if you should find yourself in the area, take a minute to stop by and reflect, once again on all that was given.

UPDATE: Talked to a nice woman from City Hall and she confirmed that 777 is the number of names on this memorial and that there are no plans to update it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Kansas III

The Veteran's Park, in Wichita, rests alongside the Arkansas River. Wichita has, like so many cities who have beautiful rivers, built a lovely river-walk along side it. I walked just a few steps on this path and noticed the Vietnamese flag flying above me on a small hill. I walked up and discovered this very new memorial. It was so new that some workmen were still laying sod around it while I was there.

As the plaque explains, it was built by the Vietnamese community in an attempt to thank all who tried to save Vietnam from its eventual fall to the Communist, especially the more than 58,000 American men and women who gave their lives to this cause.

As I have traveled the country, I have seen an ever increasing number of memorials built by the Vietnamese. I think one of the most beautiful is in Westminster, California and I have featured it here previously. If you missed it, you can "click" on California on the left side of this page and scroll back until you find it. I like seeing these sites. It makes me feel a little better knowing that our efforts were actually appreciated by the Vietnamese people. I admit that while I was there I was not so sure that this was the case, so I guess this helps a little.

While I admit that I struggle somewhat with my own ambivalence, I was shocked when I spoke to a local vet about the Vietnamese site. His anger was palpable. He said something along the lines of; "I don't acknowledge that one, its not ours!" It made me wonder just how long the pain lasts and what we need to do to heal ourselves and each other. 40 years, plus or minus, seems a long time to be so angry! I feel as if I am somewhat further along that path than this guy and it makes me sad that his life is still so damaged, or controlled, by events so very long ago. I wish him and all others peace.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Kansas II

In Wichita there is a Veteran's Park. That, in and of itself is not a surprise, but the memorial there is something very special. Along side the Arkansas River in a park with any number of memorials in it, this one is special. It reminds us of that which we so easily, sometimes, forget. The memorial is not only dedicated to those who fought, died and were forever changed by 'Nam, but also to those who loved them or only knew them. It specifically says Dedicated to All Those Affected by the Vietnam War. All too often we forget those left behind. There is an old adage that I think goes like this; They also serve who but sit and wait. I think the original intent of this was that if someone was non combatant, they still should be honored. They would fight if asked to do so. But, I think this is easily extended to the families, friends and loved ones of all who served and especially those who did not return. We would do well to remember this each day that our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters and husbands and wives, Mothers and Fathers, all those who support our soldiers, are serving, too.

Next time, on the 16th, we'll visit another Vietnam memorial just a few steps away from this one. Join me then at 9:00 am, as always.

Sunday, May 6, 2012


The Kansas State Vietnam Memorial is located in Junction City. In Heritage Park, at the corner of 6th and Washington Streets, you will find this and several other memorials. The park is really quite beautiful and is made even more elegant by the inclusion of this, and the other, memorials.

Honored here are the 761 KIA's and 38 MIA's (as of 1987) lost from Kansas.

I asked around about why it was located in Junction City and no one was quite sure, but the prevailing opinion was that Fort Riley is near by. This makes a lot of sense as so many would have passed through the fort which is , also, the home of the famous Big Red One!

The memorial, which is reminiscent of The Wall in DC, was built entirely from donations from the community and was dedicated on July 4th, 1987.

In addition to this memorial there are remembrances for The Civil War, WWII and Desert Storm and there is a marker for The Big Red One and POW's.

From here we will go on to Wichita where I found a memorial with a very important message. See you on the 11th at (;00am.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Vet Jobs Expo

This is a repost and update of info from December of last year. I have learned that the Job Expo will next be in Detroit in June. The URL at the bottom of the page takes you to the VA page with this and other information.

The Expo in DC resulted in more than 500 jobs being offered to Vets.

A special thanks to Sue for sending the info to me!

This program is traveling across the country. Click (or copy and paste) the link below to check when it will be in your area."