Thursday, August 30, 2012

Washington III

I was surprised as I reviewed my photos from Washington and Oregon to find that most were from Oregon. This is actually the last of my pics from Washington state until I have a chance to return. This surprise turns out to be a good thing as Washington is so beautiful that I am grateful to have a reason to return.

In the meantime, this is not an actual memorial, as such, but a Veteran's Memorial Museum located in Chehalis, Washington. We spent most of an afternoon with a number of the guys who started and man the site. While it covers all vets and wars they have a really nice selection of things from 'Nam. As you can see from the pics the items are varied. Most will need no explanation. I was surprised to see an album of Bob Hope material. I was lucky enough to see him while I was there. It is interesting that what I remember is, not so much Hope but his guest star; Raquel Welch!! In addition, there are displays on POW's and other unit citations and awards. It was here that I learned about the National POW Memorial in Riverside, Ca. that I have written about elsewhere on this site and just visited again recently.

Opened in 1995, the museum boasts a 9000 sq ft main building with more than 85 large displays. It has plenty of parking space and includes a small Museum Store. The guys we met here were so interesting and made us so welcome, we returned for a second visit on our way back to Sea-Tac from Oregon. There is a small charge to enter but a docent will accompany you and answer questions and give a personal tour.

It is located at 100 SW Veterans Way, exit 77 halfway between Seattle and Portland. You can find out more at;  This place honors all vets and is well worth a stop if yo have the opportunity.

Next we will visit South Dakota whose Vietnam memorial has details I have never before encountered, but are spot on! Join me on Sept. 4th at 9:00am at this remarkable site.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Washington II

Seven names are, remembered forever, on this small monument located in the median of the main drag in Shelton. We had a hard time finding it at first, but the folks at the local museum were able direct us to the site. Situated at Railroad and 3rd, in the shadow of the trains on display, it honors the 6 KIA's and one MIA listed here.

Shelton truly feels like my preconceived notions of the northwest. absolutely beautiful, full of friendly folks, trying to help, and even, as the last pic shows, totems. This guy is just around the corner from the memorial, perhaps stranding guard.

Totem fact; We often hear the expression "low man on the totem pole" meaning the one with the least power or status, but in truth the low man is actually the place of honor on totems. So, this is another expression, often misused or misunderstood by most.

Monday, August 20, 2012


This beautiful memorial, the second of two, sits on the Capitol grounds in Olympia. The original marker which was not well received by surviving vets became the impetus to create this new one.

Dedicated in 1987, it sits on a 45 foot base which is designed so that anyone, a vet, a child, someone in a wheelchair, can touch the 1116 names inscribed and honored here, forever.

Purposely placed on a grassy knoll, under this magnificent tree it offers a place of quite peace and solitude for any that visit. The rolling design of the top represents the ups and downs of everyday life until it reaches the split caused by the war. The split represents the break in the cycle of life caused by war.

The names are listed in chronological order of loss from July 1963 to May 1975. A small cross denotes those still MIA. As at many sites, mementos and keepsakes are left by visitors and mourners. these are all collected and kept in the state archives.

Another interesting point is that the state of Washington provided some funding for the project, but the fundraising activity of the planners was so successful, raising the money from 1466 private donors that the state money was returned. Most of the donors contributed less than 25 dollars. So, this one, too was built by the people.

I had an opportunity to speak with a number of folks in the Capitol building and the Park Service representative, on site, and all were enthusiastic and helpful and I thank them.

The last picture in this series is of the view from near the site. I just think it is too beautiful not to include.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Rhode Island VII

I have listed this site as Rhode Island even though it is actually across the river in Connecticut. The town of Pawcatuck is, literally, only a few feet, across the bridge from Westerly. In many areas I have seen the two hyphenated as Westerly-Pawcatuck! When I fill in the labels, I will include Connecticut among them so that those seeking only memorials in that state will have access too!

This is a simple, yet moving site and while I realize that POW/MIA sites have evolved over the years to represent all (as they should) they will be forever, in my mind, associated with 'Nam. So, I include this one here

Friday, August 10, 2012

Rhode Island VI

Just up the hill from the last site by the river, stands this memorial that has grown substantially over the years. Originally a WWI memorial in built in 1937, it was expanded and rededicated in 2002 and now includes numerous additional vets from WWII, Korea and Vietnam.

An interesting feature is that Vietnam is actually memorialized in two different places at this site. The second picture shows the large "wall" on which many 'Nam vets are honored, but just a few feet away is a different listing. I have contacted a number of people in the area including the Library, Newspaper and others and no one has yet been able to tell me why this is so. As always, if I am able to solve this mystery I will post what I learn.

Next time, we will visit a memorial in a different city, in a different state, about 50 feet away from the one we saw previously at the bridge. Join me on the 15th at 9:00am.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Rhode Island V

Divided only by a river (and a state line), the towns of Westerly, R.I and Pawcatuck, Ct. honor vets in a number of sites.  There seems to be no absolutely specific Vietnam memorial but those who served or were lost are honored at each of these sites.

Those lost are honored and remembered at the memorial on the Westerly side of the Pawcatuck river. In addition, just a short walk up the hill brings you to what was, at first a WWI memorial. The names of many vets were added later when the park was renovated in 2002. I will take you there next time as there are several pictures I want to use.

See you next time, up the hill, on August 5th at 9:00am