Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas 2012 II

In keeping with my tradition of posting something other than Vietnam memorials during the holiday season, here is the second, and final of these posts for this year. On Jan 2 of the new year, I will resume posting memorials from Missouri and then on to other sites in other states. Enjoy!

Saturn IB rocket at the Huntsville, Alabama Visitors Center.

Alaskan view

Dew on a leaf, Anchorage, Alaska
Mission St. Francis Xavier Del Bac, Tucson, Arizona

Sails in the red sunset, Honolulu, Hawai'i

Hope everyone had a great holiday and that you will rejoin me in Missouri on January 2 for the first post of the New Year! As always, at 9:00am!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas 2012

My long time readers know that I choose not to write about memorials and the lost near the holiday season. Those of us who were there and our families and friends need a break, I think. So, I always try to come up with a post of something interesting at this time of year. I hope that your have a wonderful season, however you celebrate it, and that you will keep checking back to see what is up!

These are a few shots from New Mexico and Arizona. Hope you enjoy!

Eye on the prize!

The trickster himself
Chiricahua National Forest

Relaxin' and thinkin' in the sun

The next post will appear the 28th. Join me then, as always, at 9:00am to see what is next!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Missouri VI

Carthage lies in southwest Missouri not too very far from Joplin. This memorial is in Central Park and I have read that some consider it "THE" Missouri Vietnam memorial. As I have written previously, folks in St. Peter's say the same thing. It doesn't really matter to me as both list all of the brave souls from the state that gave all for the Vietnamese and their efforts for freedom. Heroes all!

Sitting on the corner of Maple and Chestnut Streets, this memorial commemorates not only the heroes from Missouri but also the fact that the Traveling Wall visited this exact spot. I am always very pleased when I see that a visit by the Traveling Wall has inspired a town to build a permanent tribute. As noted before I have seen this a number of times but it may not be too well known that there are several organizations that sponsor Walls the visit around the country. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, who built the Wall in D.C., and Dignity Memorials are just two of these.

It was raining the day I was there and the glare given off by the rain often makes one think of the tears that were shed for these brave people, their families, for Vietnam. Standing in these sacred places, in the rain, also causes me to recall the monsoons in 'Nam. Not that these storms measure up in any way, but just the rain in general. It is funny what takes you back!


This poem by Major O'Donnell, KIA in 'Nam, is frequently found at these sites. It encompasses, I think, a lesson we may have finally learned. Regardless of ones politics or feelings about any particular war, we must never (again) blame the soldier who was sent to that war. When I returned I got some of the stuff we have all heard about on my third day back in the U.S. Now, when I see returning soldiers applauded in airports, etc, I think we have learned. The "silver lining" to Vietnam may just be that we will never treat a vet with such disrespect again! I least I hope this is true.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Missouri V

Located south of St. Louis, Cape Girardeau sits very near the Illinois State line. As I traveled there I was caught in two different (I think) tornadoes. The area had recently been experiencing many storms and Joplin was particularly hard hit. I saw lots of devastation, in fact, it reminded me of 'Nam. I was able to get out of harms way but it was quite an experience.

The memorial in Cape Girardeau is a simple tribute, made of Missouri white marble, to the 19 men from the area, who are among the 1411 from Missouri, who were lost. It sits on the grounds of the Common Pleas Court House Park Lawn, on Spanish Street, along with some other war time tributes.

Recently, I have been hearing more talk of war, too often from those who have never worn a uniform or looked down the barrel of someone else's rifle. I have commented before about how eagerly these types send other peoples kids to war! It made me think of what the Presiding County Commissioner, Gerald Jones, said at the July 4th, 2006, dedication of this memorial.

"Real patriotism requires more than posting a flag in your yard. It requires action, commitment and a willingness to sacrifice for your country-like our Vietnam veterans."

Join me again on the 18th as we visit Carthage. As always, at 9:00am

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Hawai'i: America's newest Vietnam memorial II

I had hoped to get this up before now, but technical problems way above my pay grade prevented me from doing so. These are a few more pics from the dedication of the memorial at The Punchbowl in Honolulu.

I returned to the site the Friday following the ceremonies thinking that I might have a better chance of getting just the pictures I wanted. To a very large extent that turned out to be true.

This first picture is of the whole memorial from down by the lower flag pole. The lowest point in the now extinct volcano crater. The new Vietnam memorial is on the right side, partially hidden by the trees.

The Honolulu memorial at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific

The flowers and wreaths that had been presented at the ceremonies on the 11th had been moved to the chapel in the center of the memorial. There were many more spread throughout the chapel and its foyer area.

I actually waited for the stone masons and workmen to complete the finishing touches on the memorial to take these shots. I guess you might say that this is the very first picture of the completely finished memorial. After the dedication ceremonies they were cleaning and coating the stone for the last time.One of the stone masons told me he was from Utah and that he had met workers from many states and he was so proud to be part of of this and he felt like "America was building this memorial."
Close up of one of the two battle maps.

It was particularly poignant for me to see two of the areas were I was (Dong Tam and Can Tho) featured on the map.

A view from another angle.

I mentioned the F-22 fly over in the first post from Hawai'i and then failed to add the pics. So, better late than never, here they are!

The approach

Beginning to dropout of the formation

The Missing Man

Join me again on the 13th for a new post from Cape Giradeau, Missouri. As always, it will post at 9:00am!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Missouri IV

This memorial is in Wentzville, MO not too far from St.Louis. It was built in 1967 and is considered by many to be the first memorial to Vietnam in the country. At first, it was only a tree strung with lights as part of an effort to raise funds to send gifts to guys in 'Nam.  A couple of years later a monument was placed on the site. In time, the tree was lost to age or disease or something and the monument became the main site. The pillar has biblical verses on its base and is topped with an eagle. It is also the site of a yearly visit by those headed east in the Run for the Wall. The vets usually spend some time in Wentzville and always place a wreath at the memorial before heading to D.C. The last pic is of a notice left more than 20 years ago by some vet on his way to D.C.

It is located in Fireman's Park, at Birch Street and W. Pearce Blvd and it is hard to imagine that anyone in this town could not direct you  to it.