Thursday, January 30, 2014

New Jersey IV

Medford, New Jersey, is about 12 miles east of Cherry Hill. We were just driving down its main street and happened upon this lovely veteran's park.

In addition to a memorial to all who served in 'Nam, there are memorials to WW I, WW II, and Korea.

The Vietnam memorial lists all from the town who served. There is no Key provided but one assumes that the stars next to a few names designates them as lost, or missing.

The park has no signage of any kind except the one noting that it has been cared for by The Boy Scouts, but it sits next door to the Medford Memorial Community Center at 21 Main street.

Next time, we revisit North Carolina, so join me there at 9:00am on the 4th of February.

To see other sites from New Jersey, or any other state, click the state name on the left side of this page.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

New York IX

As you tear yourself away from this somber theater and begin the walk away, up the winding path to leave all this behind, you discover, yet, another place. Called the Reflection Garden, it is but another reminder to remember. The polished, black monolith calls on us, one last time, to never forget those who served. It recall the words of Major O'Donnell a pilot who was killed in action in 1970 but was considered MIA for years and years. It thanks all who served; something that,as you know, was a long time coming.


Having circled through this moving tribute you find yourself approaching the original, flag laden entrance. But, there just off to the right is one last, solitary bollard. Someone has affixed a flag to it.
This one really completes the circuit. It remembers and honors so many that are not often included at these sights.

  It reads as follows;

This bollard is dedicated to all those men and women who lost their lives because of Vietnam.
to those that died from physical or emotional wounds and those who succumbed to their injuries, 
by their own hand, from Cancer induced by Agent Orange or substance abuse also.
it is also dedicated to those who continue to suffer after Vietnam from PTSD, pain, sleeplessness, anxiety, loneliness,rage, survivor guilt and/or sadness. To their families who witnessed the pain, but often, could not understand.
It is dedicated to all those who picked up their lives despite difficulty and did their very best, contributing to America as they did with their service to country in Nam.
Finally, this is dedicated to you who have come here today. You who loved and supported us.. remember us. thank you for quenching the thirst of our souls. May none of us ever again forget the cost of freedom and the sacrifices made. God bless you one and all.

So, after this roller coaster ride of emotions, a moment of absolute brilliance! The very last thing you see, finally back to the beginning is a mood lightening, life affirming, display that pulls you right back from the edge. I even laughed out loud. A water fountain. Not just any water fountain, but one that has been designed to look just like a canteen. Not only is it brilliant, it works.

This is the final post from Rochester. Next time we will be right next door in new Jersey. So, join me then, as always at 9:00am on the 30th.

To see other posts  from New York, or any other state, click the state name on the left side of this page.

Monday, January 20, 2014

New York VIII

Walking this silent path, past the bollards and all the names, past the soldier traveling through time, and past those who were awarded the country's highest honor, it is easy to feel as if all has been said, that this place is complete. But, no, there is more. You wander into the place known as The Learning Area and here, there is more.

A number of large stones tell more of the story. They teach you history, they challenge you to remember and never forget, and they wring one last tear from your heart.

Every reading of this is as difficult as the last.

And, finally, one not anticipated. In keeping with our pledge that one generation of vets will never again abandon another, this tribute to our fellow soldiers from The Korea War, the forgotten war, is one of the last you see as you continue up and out of this area.

This is the penultimate post from Rochester. Next time on the 25th, return to see the Garden of Refection, a tribute to those lost after the war and an unusual, whimsical, mood lightening drinking fountain. As always, at 9:00am on the 25th of January.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

New York VII

Directly across the pathway, opposite the 280 bollards, is a time line outlining the history of Vietnam. I will include only a few here. I was surprised (and pleased) that some lesser known events were included, like the incident in 1945. Most are self explanatory and will not benefit from comments by me, except to point out that I chose 1967-68 simply because that is when I was in 'Nam.

There were hundreds of these stones, creating a curb like lesson as one meanders along the path headed to the final major destinations here; The Reflection Garden and The Learning Area. I will post more about them in the next post, on the 20th, as usual at 9:00am.

To see other posts from New York, or any other state, click on the state name on the left side of this page.

Friday, January 10, 2014

New York VI

It is difficult for me to say which feature of this marvelous site is the "main" one. It is just filled with markers and remembrances, each as powerful as the last.

As you exit the plaza area and begin walking down the paved trail, you immediately see the bollards winding down, around, and out of sight. There are two hundred and eighty of them winding through the park like setting on the left side of the path. Each is dedicated to one of those lost from the area. Their branch of service, name, date of birth and death and even what high school they attended is displayed. On many, someone has attached a photograph or perhaps a flower. I walked slowly through the site and read every name. It was difficult, but seemed the least I could do. You are forced by the shape of the bollard to bow your head as your read the names listed on each one.

Part way down this path you come upon two, free standing markers.

One, on the left, is dedicated to Medal of Honor awardees and stands among 23 Red Bud trees; one of each of the names honored on the black granite wall. The triangular tribute is pointing directly at one of the bollards erected for one of the awardees.

The second is located in the Veteran's Reflection Garden. It depicts a solder walking through a granite wall. It represents walking through time, passing from the past to the present. The stone is highly polished so that the inevitable visitor sees himself along with the solder; a connection between the living and the dead.

This memorial makes a point of stating that it honors not only the lost, but all who served during the Vietnam Era and all those from the Rochester area who were "touched by the effects of the war."

Next time, on the 15th we will further explore the treasures found here. As always, at 9:00am.

To see other memorials from New York, or any state click the state name on the left side of this page.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

New York V

Finding this great memorial in Rochester was a chance encounter. While researching information about a memorial in West Virginia, I was directed to the former crew chief of a Huey I was writing about. He lived in Rochester at the time and just in passing conversation asked if I had seen the site in Rochester? Not only had I not seen it, I had never even heard of it! I told him that I had a future trip planned to Buffalo and would check Rochester out at that time.

Well, as I have often thought, and said on this site, other powers are involved here in ways I do not claim to understand. Rochester has been catapulted from an unknown to one of my very favorite sites.

It is magnificent. It is probably the most well thought out, complete memorial I have ever been to visit.

You approach down a path lined with dedication bricks, placed by families, friends and other to honor those who served in 'Nam and other actions. This path lead to a plaza which hosts a number of flags, a world map and a memorial title. In addition there are markers for each of the 280 from the area who were lost. There are a number of other not often seen elements that I will post in due course.

These are just a few of the first things you see as you enter the site, and this is one of those memorials that is going to take two or more posts to tell its story. So, return on the 10th for the next installment, as always, at 9:00 am.

To see other memorials from New York, or any other state, click on the state name on the left side of this page.