Monday, March 31, 2014

Vermont VI

Cruising the back roads of Vermont is a pleasure unto itself, but I was very pleased to find this memorial in Bridgewater. It commemorates many from various wars and a number from Vietnam are among them all. Located at the intersection of U.S. 4 and north Bridgewater Road it marks the war from December 22, 1961. Experience has taught me that many places start the beginning of the war on the day they lost their first hero.

The names here are alphabetically listed and I see no designation as to lost or missing, so the December 1961 date is a mystery to me

Many memorials have tributes or poetry as part of their appeal, but I particularly like the one found here.

I don't have a clue as to what the B US. 6 means, anyone have any idea?

Next time, on the 5th of April, meet me in Virginia, as always at 9:00am.

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

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Texas IX

Located with the model of the new Vietnam memorial in the LBJ Library was an unexpected surprise.

Two Vietnam vets created replica dog tags for every Texan lost in Vietnam; all 3417 of them. Hanging in alphabetical order they include the 105 MIAs (as of 2012) and two extra blank tags for those "known only to God." All of the names are listed on the bottom, shelf like portion of the display to help name seekers locate their loved ones. In truth, they created two complete sets, one of which will be forever enshrined inside the new memorial when it is completed. As I mentioned in the last post from LBJ, the new memorial will be dedicated on March 29th, 2014, just three days after this post will appear.

I have read a number of times about a display of more than 58,000 tags in Chicago, but when I was there it was not available to the public, so I was really quite pleased to discover this one in Austin. This one is, indeed, smaller, but perhaps more intimate and meaningful to our brothers and sisters in Texas.

The display tells the story of the exhibit and highlights the first and last Texan lost. the first, M Sgt. Chester M. Orvand was lost in 1959 and the last, PFC Antonio R. Sandoval, was lost in 1975.

There are several areas of text and information at the site. This one tells how the legacy of Vietnam haunts Americans and our leaders but I can't help but wonder if that is still the case?

The logo, seen throughout the display, depicts, in its center, the new memorial.

Next time, on the 31st, we will return to Vermont, so join me at 9:00am.

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

Friday, March 21, 2014

Texas VIII

I read a number of stories about a new memorial being built on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol in Austin. So, it was with great anticipation that I finally got there a few months after it was to have been started. I was disappointed to find not so much as a hole in the ground when I visited. An employee at the Capitol explained that there had been some difficulties and that as recently as the day before I was there a meeting had been held to iron these out and to get the project rolling.

That very night I was reading a local publication and discovered that a mock-up of the memorial was on display at the LBJ Library. I went there the next day and these pictures are from that visit.

Originally, an additional soldier was to have been included in this memorial. He was to have been a Vietnamese soldier, but in the end it was decided to omit him.

The destruction and devastation of a country and culture are depicted in some of the detail from this sculpture. There are scenes of river patrols, choppers in flight, and other typical in-country activity around the base.

Detail of one of the five soldiers

Even though the RVN soldier was omitted, the Vietnamese dragon highlights one of the depictions on the base.

Tonight, I checked again and discovered that the new memorial is to be dedicated on March 29th, 2014, so this posting is particularly timely.

In the next posting, on March 26th, I'll feature a real surprise that I found at the LBJ Library. Check it out at 9:00am, as always.

To see the other postings from Texas, or any other state, click the state name on the left side of this page,

Sunday, March 16, 2014

South Dakota X

Sioux Falls has done a truly magnificent job on this Veteran's Memorial Park and while I have concentrated, in my last two posts, on the Vietnam components, today, I will share a few other of the remarkable pieces of this tribute.

This beautiful bronze eagle stands near the entrance. There is no sign or designation, but you can't help but think that he is protecting the whole site.

These pavers form a huge square within the central park. They recall the service and sacrifice of many from many wars. The large "C" in the middle helps visitors find their loved one as each corner has a alphabetical designation.

Nearby, this remembrance to all who never returned. Note that there is a missing star in the star field to the right side of the plaque.

An angel carries a fallen solder towards his final reward. Called "Going Home", he is rising from a draped American flag and the statue is dedicated to all who have lost their lives in uniform.

Finally, the wish of every soldier, every parent, every child, so that no more shall be sacrificed.

The park may be found at 1021 W. Bailey Street in Sioux Falls just minutes from the airport.

Next time, on the 21st, we will travel,once again, to Texas. Join me there at 9:00am.

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

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

South Dakota IX

This post will be a little different. It will be the first that deals only with Medal of Honor recipients. The photos here speak for themselves and nothing I could write will tell their story more eloquently or bestow any more honor on these gallant heroes.

The Medal of Honor was first awarded in 1863 and some 1400 have been earned since that time. The way one might feel about a particular war must not diminish the bravery and heroism of these very few who have gone, as each citation says, "above and beyond the call of duty."

So, take a minute to read each of these, all from Vietnam, and, perhaps whisper an Ave for each; Be glad that such people exist and teach us what is important and how to live.

Remember, that if you "click" on the photo, it will enlarge for easier viewing.

Next time, on the 16th, I will post the last few pics from this Sioux Falls site. So, join me, as always, at 9:00am.

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

Update: Just found out that my info is wrong about the number of MOH recipients. I stated above that the number is 1400 but it is actually 3463, seventy five of whom are still living. Sorry for the bad info.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

South Dakota VIII

When I posted the last site from South Dakota, back in 2012, I figured that it would be the last. I had no idea that I would have reason to return. Life, being what it is, decided differently and I was back for a family wedding in Sioux Falls in the eastern part of the state. It was great to be back in this beautiful place and I planned some extra time to see what I could find as on my first trip I had not been able to get to this area.

As luck, or life, would have it, there is a beautiful Veteran's park just minutes from the airport. One surprise other than this park was the weather. We were there in May and it was bitter cold, the wind was blowing to beat all hell and I wondered how long we could endure! The temp was actually in the 30s, in May! There had been an ice storm shortly before we arrived and trees and limbs were down everywhere.

This park honors all veterans but other than Medal of Honor awardees, names are not listed.

Today, I will post a few general and a couple specific to Vietnam and next time post some of the other elegant and meaningful sights from this great park.

Note the lack of leaves on any of the trees

The wind was strong and bitter on this particular day
This stone dedicated the park to all who served and cautions us to honor them all

Vietnam is listed here among the other wars and much space is left for those yet to come

I frequently write about our not being able to decide when the was was fought and here is another example of how some interpret the time period. Most, but not all count from 1959 to 1975. These numbers (above) start at the Gulf of Tonkin incident and end with the signing of the peace treaty that "ended " the war. We all know these are just arbitrary dates as the first soldier actually died in 'Nam in 1956 and continued to do so until 1975 when Saigon finally fell.

Next time, I will post some more interesting sights from this spot. Join me at 9:00am on the 11th of March.

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

Saturday, March 1, 2014

South Carolina III

I was actually in the Army's Navy. During the 'Nam era, the Army was said to have more watercraft than the Navy. Not battleships and the like, of course, but all kinds of vessels. I was trained on a number of them and spent some time running up and down the Mekong delivering everything from food to tons and tons of munitions. So, the Navy connection is very strong for me. We even did much of our training at Norfolk! As Army guys, you know we took some heat from the sailors, but we gave as good as we got, but in actual training exercises, we were all on the same team. Patriots Point in South Carolina, as mentioned in my last post, has the usual attractions of ships, planes and memorials. It goes a step, a large step, beyond these; it has recreated a Navy Technical Support Base, the only one in the country. It is like stepping back into 'Nam. Years simply slide away as you walk through the barbed wire encompassed area.

The ubiquitous sandbags. Once, while on "Light Duty" due to a recent, severe illness, I was assigned to sandbag duty and I remember that over that 10 day period I, personally filled over 8,000 sandbags. The crew that had been assigned to me filled many many more and we never knew where they went, but I was glad when my "Light Duty" was over.

Ammo dumps, like this one were everywhere. I once saw one go up, hit by something, it was like the 4th of July. You would never leave a chopper this close to a dump.

We were always escorted by these PBR's as we ventured down the river. They were always welcome company. We were, for all intents and purposes, unarmed. We had a few M-14's aboard but nothing else, so the twin 50 cals on these were our primary defense.

On the 6th, we will revisit South Dakota. Join me there at 9:00am.

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