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.

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