Saturday, January 12, 2013

Illinois II

The area being prepared for the second wall is just adjacent right to this one

Cutting the last few names into the Wall

All of these vets are part of Larry's family

Steve got a pic of me and Larry
On the road to Springfield, we (my buddy Steve was with me on this trip) noticed a National Guard tent on the side of the road and there was someone working on what was obviously a memorial. We pulled in and met the guys working there. It turned out to not be a specifically Vietnam memorial, but the story was just too good to let go by.

The guy who was behind this veteran's memorial is Larry Beck. He is Vietnam vet dealing with major Agent Orange issues. He decided to build a memorial to all vets from his area and attempted to get the permissions and other such stuff to get started. Well, for reasons unknown he could not get all the legal stuff out of the way. He did what any of us would do! He built it anyway. The memorial sits in a park in Spaulding, Ill. and I asked him what he would do if the powers that be took it down? He said, "I'll just put it back up!" In fact, he showed me a spot nearby that is being cleared for another wall.

A unique feature of this site is that groups of vets from the same family are together. Larry told me he has 14 vets in his family and they are all in a family group on the wall. Other related vets are grouped similarly. The dedication of this Wall was in just a few days and the guys were working furiously to get all the names cut into the bricks. They were confident that they would be finished on time. You can see the markings, tape and guides on the wall that were still being completed the day we were there.

My own observation is that he does not have to worry about anybody tearing down the Wall. No politician in his right mind wants to be known as the guy who tore down the veteran's memorial, so I am sure it is safe.

If you get to Spaulding, not far from Springfield, check this site out. It is a tribute not only to vets but to spirit and determination of those who decided it must be built. Great work Larry and all who participated.

Join me on the 17th for the next post from Mt. Pulaski, Illinois where there is a monument to two sons of Illinois, as always, at 9:00am.

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