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 " 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.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Pennsylvania XV

Because I live on the east coast, I get to these states more often than to those further west. As much as I travel and as many states as I try to see, it is just easier, obviously, to visit those that I can just jump in the car and spend a day or two looking for sites.

Pennsylvania, right next door, as you can, see has a number of sites, this is the 17th post from the state, and is certainly one of the most well represented states on this site. As you read this, however, I will have just returned from a relatively extended trip to Washington and Oregon where I hope to have picked up at least ten additional west coast memorials.

This site located in Lebanon in a small park not too far east (about 35 miles) of Harrisburg, Pa. and was inspired by a visit from the traveling Wall. How many times have been able to make that statement? I am always pleased when I do. It is a little unusual in that it features bas relief  "portraits" of soldiers and is made mostly of red brick which is not too often seen. I have been unable to determine if there is a specific reason for this so as I always do, I will ask you to let me know if you have any information. In addition, the main figure is clearly a Vietnamese soldier carrying another, who appears to be American. You can reach me in the "Comments" section or privately by using the email listed on the left side of the page.

44 of Lebanon's own are honored and remembered here.

The 544 bricks were hand etched and included in the 9x15 Wall.

Entombed within the Wall, in a time capsule, are the signatures of all those who participated in the project, including the pens they signed their names with.

The Wall, itself, bears no names but the lost are honored on a plaque that stands in front of the Wall. It is said that an unintended and unforeseen feature here is that when it rains the soldiers appear to have tears in their eyes.

Many are remembered on pavers that lead up to the memorial.It may be found at the intersection of S.10th and Elm Streets.

Much more interesting info on this memorial may be found here:

Next time, on the , we will visit South Dakota, once again, so join me there, as always, at 9:00am.

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

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Montgomery County Salute to Vietnam Veterans II

Here, I would like to say just a few more words about the Montgomery County, Maryland, Salute to Vietnam Veterans called, Honor and Gratitude and hopefully, include some pics from the event.

The morning of October 24th was clear and beautiful but somewhat cold. I rode over to Battley Harley Davidson really glad I had chosen to grab my heavier coat. When I arrived about 30 minutes early there were already a number of riders from Nam Knights in the parking lot. As the morning wore on quite a few more showed up. In the end we had, at the last count I heard, 36 Nam Knight members and 24 non members for a total of 60. A few more may have rolled in before we actually took off.
A few of the riders

We were escorted by a fairly large contingent of Montgomery County Police on bikes and in cruisers and they made the trip over to the Honor and Gratitude site, at the Universities of Shady Grove, safe and uneventful. Thanks a lot guys for a job well done!

Upon arrival we were all gathered in front of the Vietnam era Huey for photos.

                                                                                          Photo by Sean M. Walsh

Later, the Huey took off and was joined by another that had been circling the area and they flew off together, after buzzing the parking lot in farewell.

Inside the place was packed. We were not sure how many would actually show up, but every seat was taken and there were people standing in the rear, in doorways, and out in the hallway.

Bob Scheiffer, recently, of CBS news was the host and introduced each speaker. He was most professional and eloquent, as we have come to expect from him. A little side note is that Mr, Scheiffer usually gets a large chunk of change for speeches and appearances, he refused even one cent for this, he wanted to be part of it. Thank you, sir.
Bob Scheiffer and Ike Leggett
Many politicians and other came to pay their respects and were well received by the group of vets, their families, friends, and well wishers.

Cmdr. Everette Alvarez, the first pilot shot down over north Vietnam and a resident of the Hanoi Hilton for 8 and 1/2 years spoke for the rest of the POW's in attendance. There were 5, in total, and they said it was the first time that all five county residents had been in the same room together since coming home. To say that it was moving would be a gross understatement.

The event had been planned for about 90 minutes but ended up pushing three hours, so many people wanted to speak. How does one say no to someone who wishes to finally say Welcome Home after more than 40 years?

You can find a film of the whole, inside, activity here:

Portions of the documentary that is being made about Nam vets from Montgomery County were shown and were warmly received. many, many people came up to speak to me after they were shown. It was quite an honor to have been among those chosen for this effort and I am humbled to have been included among these heroes. I am no hero, but these guys had amazing stories, I still don't quite know why I was amongst them, but I, as I said, am honored.

There were a number of tables from different organizations in the foyer of the building: The VA, VVA groups, Gold Star Mothers and a number of others. My table for A Means to Heal was very well received and I spent a long time talking with many people about my travels and various memorials I have visited. I want to thank everyone who stopped by and the many of those who later checked out my site. The number of visits jumped dramatically after the event. I hope that this continues and that the word about A Means to Heal continues to spread. I always assure people that "there is nothing for sale" on the site, just info for vets and those interested.

I heard, just today, that the state of Maryland is planning a huge event in the spring of 2016. Called LZ Maryland, it will be held at the State Fair Grounds in Timonium, near Baltimore. As I learn more, I will update you here.

The picture portion of this post did not go as planned. If I figure out the texchnical stuff, I will post some pics at a later date.

OK, next time, on the 9th of November, I will post a new site from Pennsylvania, so join me, as usual, at 9:00am.

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