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.

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