Thursday, May 21, 2015

Maryland VIII

Memorial Day is once again upon us. Most years, as my long term readers know, I write about its history and admonish you to enjoy your cook-outs but to take just a moment to remember what it is all about. This year, I thought I might tell you about the new Justice Plaza in Rockville, MD.

Some time ago, back when I posted Maryland III, which you can find elsewhere on this site (and below), I told some of the story of the Montgomery County Maryland Vietnam Memorial site. It was placed on the County Court House lawn and was a plaque honoring all those from the County that has served or perished. It contained no names and was placed directly under a White Oak, the Maryland state tree, and we assumed that that was all there was to be.

Well, times have changed

The Eternal flame awaiting unveiling.

Now, nearly 30 years after the original was dedicated, the site and memorial were lost to expansion of the Justice Center, which now contains an eternal flame, some plaques, and other appropriate items, honoring many who have served in the Military, but also those remembered for other services and reasons.

A few of the plaques

A replica of the original Vietnam plaque seen above

Dedicated last November 10th, State and local dignitaries were in attendance and the keynote speaker was Cmdr. Alvarez, a Montgomery County native who was the first pilot shot down over North Vietnam and only the second P.O.W. He spent many years in the infamous Hanoi Hilton. It was a true honor to meet him.

I did not get his permission to post his picture, but I think this one is safe. Ike Leggett, County Executive, Cmdr. Alvarez, and Craig Rice, President of the County Council, ( from right to left ) pull the cover of the Eternal flame.

The Eternal Flame

This was a beautiful and fitting ceremony that honors all who have served.

Some of us, however, still wanted to have a memorial specific to the many from the County lost in 'Nam: more than 130 at last count. I am pleased to tell you that the Montgomery County Vietnam Memorial Project has been formed and we are making headway towards our own memorial to be placed in the revitalized Wheaton area. Many details still need attention, but we have gained approval and a piece of land has been designated for the memorial. I will keep you posted as to the process and progress.

Next time, I hope to post some pics from the WWII Flyover that featured planes from the WWI, WWII, and Vietnam eras that took place in Washington D.C. a week or so ago. So, join me as always, at 9:00am on Monday the 25th. I know, it is a day earlier than my usual rotation, but it is also the day we honor Memorial Day and I think it is fitting to show these planes in honor of all.

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

1 comment:

  1. Awesome! I'm so glad Montgomery County will have a dedicated memorial to Vietnam veterans. Thank you for all of your hard work to make this happen!