Thursday, February 21, 2013

Illinois X

The Vietnam memorial at Wabash Plaza, also Vietnam Veterans Plaza, is actually the new one. Dedicated November 11, 2005 it replaces an earlier one that was lost to reconstruction. Some components of that earlier one were included in the new one, but the time capsules containing the names of all from Chicago seem to have been lost.
The 14 fountains are said to vary in height by how many troops were in-country during a specific year. Each fountain represents a particular year.

I have read a number of different numbers regarding the number lost/MIA from Illinois, but this week I spoke with the guy that has the "official" list for the state memorial at Springfield. He tells me there are 2980, but even he says he wouldn't want to guarantee that number. Note, also that the names changed from the original (Chicago) to this one (Illinois)

 Interestingly, I found this article on line.

"This event was held at various locations in the city over the years until 1982, when Mayor Jane Byrne and Cardinal Bernardin dedicated the first Vietnam War memorial in the country, at the intersection of Wacker and Wabash. The memorial contained a time capsule that listed all of the names of soldiers from Chicago who died in Vietnam. From that day forward, VVAW's ceremony was fittingly conducted at the memorial; that is, until the current mayor, Rich Daley, decided to reconstruct Wacker Drive in 1998 and proceeded to lose the nation's first Vietnam War memorial. Despite all of the city's excuses, let's just recall that Jane Byrne's name was on the memorial, not Daley's. The mayor's solution to this small reminder of his family's short lapse of control over Chicago was to destroy an important and historically significant memorial, and then build his own. In the words of Barry Romo, "Not only was this city the first city to have a city memorial to Vietnam vets, we were also the first city in the world to lose a memorial." VVAW Veteran, Spring issue, 2006, Vol.36, Number1. Authored by Ken Nielsen:

You can read the whole article here if you like;

It is odd to me that anyone would claim the first Chicago memorial as the first in the country. I have photographed and posted memorials from the late '60's on this site.

This will be the last post from Illinois for a while. I still have some from Wheaton, Rankin, Vermillion County and a few others, but, will post then another time.

Join me next time when we will visit Oklahoma. The state memorial is on the Capitol grounds in Oklahoma City, so join me there on the 21st at 9:00am.

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