Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Alabama III

Just south of the Tennessee state line on I-65 is the Ardmore Welcome Center. Near Athens, Alabama, the center is home to a Vietnam memorial erected by local VVA members. Near exit 365, it lists 1213 names from the state lost in 'Nam.

It sits in a beautiful tree covered park like setting along with a Korean memorial and something you don't always see!

The memorial lists names by county, has a depiction of The Three Servicemen, and a biblical verse.

By the way, here is that thing you don't always see! A Saturn IB missile! Huntsville, Alabama, not far from here is one of NASA's locations and also the home to Space Camp, so this does not seem so oddly out of place, knowing that!


 Next time, we will visit Gilbert, Arizona. So join me on the 28th, as always, at 9:00am!

To see all posts from Alabama, or any other state, click on the states name on the left side of this page.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Hawai'i VI

I want to close out this visit to Hawai'i with a few more pics from the dedication of the nation's newest Vietnam memorial. (You can check out the original posts by clicking on Hawai'i, to the left in the list of states)

This first picture of the flags was taken on my first visit to this site, months before the new memorial was built. The flags stand just to the right of where the new memorial was placed. This shot is from inside the older WWII/Korea portion of the memorial. That is downtown Honolulu in the distance, so you can tell that this area is quite elevated.

Below are a couple of pics taken by, and given to me, by Bob Armbruster. Bob is the guy who took Mary Jacobs' vision and turned it into physical reality.

Eagle wing detail
Artist Mary Jacobs and Bob Armbruster at the dedication of the memorial.

It is not often that I get the opportunity to speak to the people who actually create memorials. It has happened a couple of times and is always something very special. Bob told me at the dedication that he had been really worried about trying to create these new images in such a way that they reflected the older battle maps appropriately, the way Mary had designed them to be. This work shows that he and his team nailed it! Thanks Mary for your vision and Bob for the effort and the pics!

Next time, I will be posting additional sites from around the nation. I have many from some states that I have only recently photographed. I am guessing that they may be 100 more to post and hopefully, by the time I get them posted I will have found more! Currently, I have trips planned back to Washington, New York, Nevada, and New Mexico. I am certain that more sites will become known to me and I will make every effort to visit and honor them.

So, on the 28th at 9:00am, check in to see one from near Huntsville, Alabama

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Hawai'i V

Just a little above Honolulu stands historic Fort Shafter. The home of the US Army, Pacific Command, it was constructed in 1905 and is the home of the Palm Circle.

The fountain, that is part of the Vietnam memorial here, was actually built by four Italian POWs in the 1944. One of these guys signed it and put his home address on one corner!

When I arrived at Ft. Shafter, the guard at the gate had no idea where a Vietnam memorial might be. Fortunately, I had some additional information and he was able to direct me to it. After taking these pics, I drove around the Fort really just finding my way out when I ended up at what I now know to be the Palm Circle.

There were some unusual (to me) birds walking around on the parade grounds. I parked the car and got out to try to take photos of them. I swear I was not out of the car a minute when all of a sudden two people were standing next to me. One was in civilian clothes and the other in fatigues (and armed) they were polite, yet firm! I was to stop taking pictures and explain myself! I told them who I was, showed ID and explained my journey. They accepted that but then, why was I taking pictures here in the is area? I explained that I had been interested in photographing the birds in the circle when they asked for my camera. I turned it over to them and they checked out my pics. When they saw that I was telling them the truth, they gave it back. I asked what the big deal was and they explained that Palm Circle, with its historic homes, was where all the "brass" live and that pics were not allowed. It all ended well, but I was nervous for a minute. I can't for the life of me figure out where they came from or how they appeared so quickly! On the other hand, I guess, if you have to go to the "brig", Hawai'i might not be the worst place to do it!

Next time, I will end our visit to Hawai'i with a few new pics from the dedication of what may still be the nation's newest Vietnam memorial, at the Punchbowl. So, check it out at 9:00am on the 23rd.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Hawai'i IV

I flew from Oahu to The Big Island to visit the town of Hilo. It is the second largest city in Hawai'i, after Honolulu. I had very little time and as luck would have it, it was raining. I was told that Hilo sits on the "wet" side of the island, so I wondered if I would get any decent pics.

The memorial sits on Piopio Street within Wailoa Park not far from the very small airport. I spent some time trying to get good pics of this really nice memorial to the 50 fallen from Hilo, but finally had to give up. I drove out to an area that has some nice waterfalls and the weather, there at least, had cleared. I jumped back in the car and headed back to the park and was able to take better, rain free, shots.


The memorial consists of the concrete and granite memorial, an eternal flame and 50 palm trees. Each of the trees bears a plaque dedicating it to a specific individual. Quite moving.

Some of the 50 memorial trees leading up to the memorial.

Each tree has a plaque at its base dedication it to a particular soldier.

Next time, we will go to Ft. Shafter in Honolulu to see the memorial on the base. I nearly got arrested there, so check in for the funny (now) story as usual at 9:00am on the 18th of August!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Hawai'i III

The Honolulu Memorial within the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific

I have written previously about the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, in Honolulu. You can find that elsewhere on this site. today, I want to highlight a few of the smaller memorial found on the "Memorial Walk" within the cemetery.

There a quite a few of these along the paved path through the beautiful park like setting. trees, flowers and birds of many kinds add to the serenity and beauty of the walk to the large plaza like area at the end. the view from this area encompasses much of Honolulu and out towards Diamond Head.

View of Honolulu and Diamond Head from the overlook plaza at the end of the Memorial Walk

The path is lined, on either side, with markers from many organizations and military units. these pictures are of the ones relating to Vietnam.

I have often taken fuzzy pictures but this last one is not one of them! The memorial shows signs of extensive weathering and really is this hard to read! Some research was able to uncover what it says;

Flying low over the trails and battlefields, forward Air controllers
marked targets with smoke rockets or grenades, performed and
directed air strikes upon the enemy and lead rescue missions, while
enduring intense ground fire, hazardous weather and terrain.
We salute the courage, sacrifice, and inspiration of the more than 
220 FACs who perished while fighting for the cause of Freedom
during the long war in Southeast Asia 1962 1975

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old. Age shall
not weary them, nor the years condemn, At the going down 
of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them. L. Binyon.

This monument is dedicated to these special aviators of the 
United States, Australia, and New Zealand who served together.
April 2002

Next time, on the 13th, we will fly to Hilo, on the Big Island, to honor a memorial to the 50 lost from that area. It is a beautiful site, so, join me at 9:00am on the 13th.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Hawai'i II

The North Shore of Oahu is famed for its huge waves and surfing competitions. I drove up to see some of the famous waves and was pleased to find this nice memorial in Hale'iwa in the Hale'iwa Beach Park. I was there for a while and was astounded how how quickly the sky changed as evidenced by these first two pictures.

The memorial commemorates and honors those lost from the area in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. I could find no additional information about it but maybe the names say it all.

Facing the water the memorial bears the names of thirteen local men who gave all in Vietnam, including one who was added at a later date..

Next time we will see a couple of small memorials located within the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific along the Walk of Honor. Join me on the 8th at 9:00am.