Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Florida XIII

DeLand is about 35 miles north of Orlando and we (my frequent companion and life long friend Steve was with me on this trip) took a short detour to go see it. A city of fewer than 30,000 found a way to honor Vietnam  in two separate memorials in the city. How many times on this site have I commented on the dedication of small towns to their veterans?

Today, I will post just about the specific one near the Court House, on Indiana Street, in downtown DeLand.

There is not a lot of information available about this small, yet somber remembrance.

It contains no names just silent watch. I was able to find six names from DeLand who were lost.

As always, if you have any knowledge or information regarding this site, I would love to hear it. You can comment, or  if you prefer privacy, email me at the address on the left.

Next time, in the new year, on the 3rd of January, come with me, once more to Louisiana, as always, at 9:00am.

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

Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Ancient Ones

I have long been interested in the American Southwest and one cannot visit there and not hear about the many, many ruins of former homes, villages and trading centers of the people who were here a thousand years before Columbus, or the Vikings, or the Irish or whomever actually got here from Europe, first. I even spent some time, quite some years ago, on a "dig" in Cortez, Colorado. I was lucky enough to uncover sherds of pottery that were a thousand, or so, years old. It was quite a thrill for me to hold in my hand parts of a pot of some kind made 1000 years earlier and perhaps the last time it was touched was that long ago, too.

For years we have heard these ancient people referred to as Anasazi, but this is a Navajo word meaning, loosely, ancient enemy, a pejorative and the descendants of the often cliff dwelling people do not like it. There is still some discussion about exactly what they should be called, but, for now, Puebloan people seems to be favored.

I would guess that the most famous relic of this noble past is Mesa Verde in southwestern Colorado, but there are many, many others.

This past summer I had the chance to revisit Manitou Springs, a well restored and kept cliff dwelling site.

In keeping with my "don;t write about Vietnam during the holidays" policy, here are a few pics from this awe inspiring site.

These multistory building were filled with rooms and storage facilities and were easy to defend.

The cliff dwellers lived primarily in the four corners area of Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico, not in the Manitou Springs area, so in the early 1900's this cliff dwelling was dismantled, stone by stone and brought to the area and completely reassembled, on site,  as a museum.

Here, you can see some of the internal rooms and the view as it might have been seen by the ancient Puebloans.

So, next time on the 29th, we will pick up again with the previously promised site from Florida and to those who celebrate Christmas, on this eve of the day, I wish you the best. Take just a moment today to remember all the men and women in Uniform who cannot be home with their loved ones including all those who are first responders who are on duty today, too.

To see other sites from anywhere in the country, click on the state name on the left side of this page.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

WWI, Maryhill, Wa.

Those of you who are familiar with my travels and efforts know that at the holiday season I choose not to write about Vietnam. Often, I'll write about something completely different, one year I recall, it was old restored cars.

Well, this year It gives me the opportunity to write about something I never expected to see and didn't even know existed until very recently.


Yep, right here is the U.S.A., in fact, in Maryhill, Washington.

Out in the middle of nowhere, along the Columbia River is this exact, full sized replica of the great, prehistoric site on the Salisbury Plain.

It, too, is a memorial, but this time to those who were lost in WWI, the war to end all wars and since there was a sacrifice alter in the original, the builder wanted it dedicated, too, to those still being lost, as the war was not yet over when this memorial was dedicated.

This is just a little different from its English fore-bearer in that it is complete, as it was first built all those millennium ago. I admit it was a little disconcerting to find it perfect in every way.

I have heard it said the these are calendars, time keepers, of a sort and I thought that this was probably so as I watched the sun setting between various stones. At any rate, it was beautiful.

These plaques were attached to many of the stones within the circle honoring many whom were lost.

To learn more about this most unusual site, go here: 


Just a few yards away, across the parking area, I saw this old building that reminded me of an old west kind of scene, but then I saw the windmills behind it and couldn't resist capturing the juxtaposition of the old and the new just as the sun was making its final departure for the day.

I truly hope that you and yours have a festive and happy observance and celebration for whatever you do at this time of  the Winter Solstice. There are something like 29 observations of this time of year throughout the world and its many belief systems and I hope that all are happy ones.

So, next time on the 24th, if you get a minute, check out some pics from an ancient civilization, The Anasazi, or The Ancient Ones.

I will resume regular postings about Vietnam memorials after the holidays.

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

Monday, December 14, 2015

Connecticut VIII

612 were lost from Connecticut and 39 of them were from Hartford.

 This memorial sits in a triangle created by New Britain, and Fairfield Avenues and Summit street.

Boy Scout Troop 129 was the driving force behind the memorial along with the support of the citizens of Hartford.

It was dedicated in 1989.

As is too often the case, I was unable to find too much information on this memorial. As always, if yo know anything I would love to hear from you.

Next time, on the 19th, join me , once again, in Florida, as always at 9:00am.

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

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Colorado XXII

I have posted from Colorado Springs before, but when I revisited the site earlier this year I found a memorial specifically to Vietnam that Is either new or, for some reason, I may have missed it the first time.

Regardless, here it is.

This is the central tower of the memorial. In a large circle surrounding it are a number of memorials to different wars and warriors. It stands just off South Union Blvd. adjacent to the Olympic Training Center.

There are several memorials here dedicated to those who served or were lost in 'Nam. This is the most general, dedicated to all from Colorado who made the ultimate sacrifice.

This last pic is of the dedication plaque at the bottom of the memorial.

The Memorial Park is a central meeting and recreational facility for Colorado Springs. Many, many activities are available and festivals of many kinds are held here. when we were visiting in June, an Irish Fest was taking place in the park.

Next time, on the 14th, we will once again, visit Connecticut,so join me there, as always, at 9:00am

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

I might also remind you, here, that if you "click" on a picture, it will enlarge for better viewing.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Arizona IX

Just a year ago, last December, I wrote about the wonderful memorial at Bull Head City, Arizona. At the time I said that this was a memorial in two parts and that I would get back to show you the second part at a later date. I had no idea it would take me a year. (You can click on Arizona to the left and then scroll back to see the original post, if you like.)

This side of the memorial (called the south side) slips out in to the Colorado River, but you must completely leave the first half to get to the second half as they are divided by an waterway between them.

On this particular spit of land is a memorial to all those who have been awarded the Medal Of Honor in Arizona.

They are listed here beneath the eternal flame which is a little hard to see but was, in fact, burning.

What is striking about this memorial is that the first eleven names are of Native Americans who aided the Army in the battles that eventually settled the state. Of the remaining nine awardees six are from Vietnam.

Unlike the other (North side) portion of the site which lists the 3,000 lost from the state, this one has a specific memorial to Vietnam.

To get there, take State Highway 95 to Riverview Drive. Travel west (towards the Colorado River and past Rotary Park) until the road ends at Riviera Boulevard, about two miles. Turn left onto Riviera Boulevard and continue about 300 yards, where the road terminates into a large parking lot. Follow the signs to enter the memorial park area.

Next time, on the 9th, we will return to Colorado for the 22nd post from this great state, so join me there at 9:00am.

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

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Washington V

As I prepare for these trips, I spend many, many hours researching exactly where Vietnam Memorials are located. I never have the time I would like to have while on the road, so I work very hard not to waste it.

In the couple of months I was planning this trip I searched and searched for a memorial in Seattle. I could find nothing. I called various Veterans organizations and could get nowhere. It just did not seem possible to me that a city the size of Seattle could possibly not have a memorial. There must have been hundreds from the city and its surrounds who were lost in this effort. but, I found nothing.

While in the city, I kept looking and calling local organizations but mostly got no answer or recorded messages. Finally, I heard back from the local V.V.A. and they assured me that there was no Vietnam memorial in Seattle and that I would need to go to Olympia to see the state memorial.

So, I admitted defeat, I was not going to find a memorial in Seattle.

On the ride into the downtown area on the light rail, I got talking to some locals about this and they did not seem to be surprised. They spoke of fairly heavy war resistance in the city and that a memorial would be unlikely.

Later, after just wandering around for a bit, I asked a couple of guys who seemed like they might be of the Vietnam era. They said, "It's two blocks down this street, on the left." They told me that it was, however, out of business, that there was no money to support it any longer. Ironically, neither of these two gentlemen was a veteran.

Well, I walked down to the corner of University and 2nd and there was a Wall. and it was covered with names. It was a memorial to the 8000 or so, who were lost since WWII, there were hundreds and hundreds of names listed for some of the various wars and just a fee for others. I was shocked. I read that all 1122 from Washington are etched here, forever, upon this Wall. In fairness, a couple of people, including the guy from VVA mentioned this memorial, but they did not seem to think that it would  meet my criteria and showed no enthusiasm for spelling out just where it was, just kind of blew it off, perhaps because it is considered by some, at least, to be "out of business."

Needless to say, I was happy to find that Seattle had, in fact, honored her lost sons and daughters and that our brothers and sisters lost in 'Nam were prominent among all the others remembered here.

After searching some more on line I discovered that this was called a Garden of Remembrance and that at one time had featured waterfalls and standing pools as part of the site. This is what the guys meant, I guess, when they said it was "out of business." I hope that one day it is returned to its former glory, but even in its present condition it still pays tribute to so many. It was designed, by the way, by a man who spent time in a "internment camp" in America during WWII and who later served in the Armed forces.

I learned, perhaps relearned, a lesson in perseverance. I just could not let it go, I think I was making Steve, a bit crazy, but in the end it paid off.

Next time, on December 4th, we will return to Arizona to visit the second portion of the memorial in Bull Head City. so, join me there, as always. at 9:00am.

To see additional memorial sites from Washington, or any other state, click the state name on the left side of this page.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Virginia XII

 This beautiful memorial is another of those that are non-specific, but I did find a Vietnam connection.

The following was taken, verbatim from the Vacations Made Easy website for Virginia Beach, Va.;

"Born of the vision of Bill Hallead, this extraordinary task was undertaken by a group of military veterans and community leaders who conceived the idea of organizing a contest amongst school students to form the idea upon which this memorial would be built. Their themes were given form by a team of leading artists, sculptors and architects who toiled to create this memorial. The memorial is designed to signify the manner in which the world is torn apart by war. The spherical shapes have cut-out centers to denote the emptiness that ware (sic) leaves in its wake. The waterfall represents the turmoil that war causes while its motion stands for the pursuit to bring people together.
The memorial is also adorned with flags belonging to the United States, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the five military services, and a specially designed Tidewater Veterans Flag. The memorial also displays a Prisoner of War-Missing in Action flag, which will remain hoisted until all the missing prisoners of war are accounted for .
Tidewater welcomes any person who has served in any branch of the United States Armed Services to be commemorated with an inscription on a paving stone which will be placed in the Veterans Memorial Park. A timeless tribute to the heroism of those who have braved the horrors of war so that their countrymen might live in freedom and democracy, the Tidewater Memorial is a must visit for any visitor to Virginia Beach."

And, here is the aforementioned Vietnam connection found on-site with a number of others.


This is truly a beautiful memorial and should you find yourself in the Virginia Beach area, it wiould be well worth a bit of your time.

Next time, on the 29th, I will share with you a site from my very recent trip back to Washington state, so, as always, join me then on the 29th at 9:00am.

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

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Texas XIII

San Marcos lies roughly 30 miles south of Austin, in Hays County. The memorial there is, as is so often the case, a multi-war memorial highlighting the wars of the 20th Century.

It is a little different because the larger Wall in the rear honors all who served while the one towards the front honors those that were lost.

There are 1013 remembered here from these wars:

World War I
World War II
Korean War
Vietnam War
Desert Storm
Operation Enduring Freedom
Operation Iraq Freedom

22 of these are from the Vietnam war.

A large eagle has been depicted on the plaza area.

A map of Texas made of individual stones graces the plaza area, too. I could not find anything that explained if there was a special significance to this image of the state, like does each stone represent a county? As always, If you have any information, I would love to have it to update this post. You have come through many times in the past, so don't hesitate.

Another interesting note is that while San Marcos seems like a relatively small community, this is the third memorial I have found here.

Next time, on the 24th, we will be neared to home, in Virginia, so join me there, as always, at 9:00am.

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

Saturday, November 14, 2015

South Dakota XVII

As is so often the case, while driving around South Dakota I rolled into a number of small towns. These places rarely have the resources necessary to build memorials to every conflict in which we participate. so, they build what are often called "multi-war" memorials to honor all those who served or were lost over the years.

This one is in Woonsocket and honors many and lists their names from WWI through Vietnam.

I have a little knowledge about what building a memorial entails. Hours and hours of planning and preparation and thousands and thousands of dollars. the specifics of this site, I cannot quote, but I do know that life sized statues run roughly $80,000 a piece, so you can rest assured that this memorial was expensive. I say all this to make a point, the population of Woonsocket, South Dakota is 720. Nope, that's not a mistype, 720 folks determined to make this memorial happen and did so.

Note the dates listed on the right side of this panel. It seems to average out to about 20 years per war, one per generation. I have often said that one generation goes to war so that perhaps their children will not have to do so, I guess not.

This guy seems to be our representative at the site.

Those of you who follow along with me know that I like to take "portraits" of any individuals I find along the way.

The sculptor was certainly able to capture some of the horror of war in his face.

This is another of those sites about which I cannot find a single word. As always, if you know something, I would love to hear it. you can reach me in the "comments ' section below or, privately, with the email to the left.

Next time, on the 19th, we travel back to Texas, so join me there, as always, at 9:00am.

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

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day 2015

As many of you know,I always try to do something a little different on certain special days; Memorial Day, 911, the hoildays and Veterans Day.

My usual attempt is something about each of those days or times. This year, until late last evening, I was on the road. I spent 8 days in Oregon and Washington visiting, honoring and photographing about 20 additional memorials for this site. More on that at a later time.

I had been directed to this memorial in Ferndale Washington by a well intentioned vet. He told me it was a brand new memorial to Vietnam vets. I traveled around and around this suburb of Bellingham, but could find nothing, or anyone who knew anything about a new Vietnam memorial. Very strange.

I stumbled upon an American Legion and the good folks there figured it was the new veterans memorial just down the road. Steve and I ventured down, found it and were a little dissapointed that it was not a Vietnam memorial. I took a few pics anyway and wondered what I would do ewith them.

Then, today, November 11th., it hit me, they might make a perfect Veterans Day post.

So, here is a pic from that Ferndale, Washington memorial.

For some of us, this will invoke memories of John-John, for everyone, I hope it will instill the commitment and determination to teach our children and their children to respect the warrior, even if not the particular war.

We have a saying around my house, which I will clean up for you: "If there is a "freaking" silver lining, I will find it!" Well, the silver lining to Vietnam is that we will never treat veterans that way again. This is easy to say, and if we as parents and grandparents do our jobs, live our responsibilities, we will teach this to the younger ones in hopes that they, too, will teach it ti their following generations.

I have been amazed at the number of posts Google+ and Facebook and other places today regarding veterans. We have come a long, long way over the years.

Yesterday, on the plane ride home I got talking to my seat mate about my travels and adventures. She was just returning from her fathers reunion of his military buddies, only a few remain and it meant a lot to her and most assuredly to him, I am sure.

As we were descending into Baltimore she tried to hand me a folded up bill. I saw immediately that it was money and tried to refuse. She simply insisted saying that it would "..be an honor to her..." to help the cause. I reluctantly accepted the bill and put in my pocket. Later, long after we had parted, I remembered it and dug it out. I expected that it might be a ten or possible even a twenty, but when I unfolded it, it was a 50 dollar bill. I was, and still am, blown away, by her interest and certainly her generosity. So, thank you, to the nice lady from Massachusetts, you know who you are.