Thursday, December 29, 2016

December 29, 2016

This will be the final non-memorial post for this year. I will return to posting Vietnam memorials on January 3, 2017.

While driving through the west of Ireland, we came upon this ruined Monastery. It was build by St. Coleman in 610 A.D. in a place now called Kilmacduagh, after the Saint, himself..( Kil means cell and Mac Duagh is Coleman's surname.) It lies between Ennis and Galway.

The round tower is the tallest in Ireland at 110 feet. These were used as places for the monks to hide when the Vikings or others tried to do them harm. they were also used as bell towers. This one leans to some degree and as been compared to the Leaning tower of Pisa.

The main building is the remains of a Cathedral and the smaller one is a churches and the square one the Abbott's residence.

The church yard is filled with graves, many very old, some quite current and several have generation after generation listed upon them.

This is a view into the Cathedral. I liked the receding arches. It is said that there are a number of carvings within, but the place was chained the day I was there.

If interested, there is much more information here:  

The place seemed just a little more special to us because my wife has relatives who live not so very far from this site named Coleman, whom we have spent great time with in past visits.

OK, now on the 3rd, we will resume postings about Vietnam memorials, so join me then, as always at 9:00am.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

December 24, 2016

In keeping with my tradition of not posting about memorials during the holiday season I was somewhat at a loss as to what to post today.

I had hoped to get to The Wall in DC to post the pictures of the Christmas tree and wreaths from Wreaths Across America, but it is just not to be this year.

I remembered that a while back I was in the Baltimore
area and happened upon a nursery all lit up for the season. I stopped ina tried to capture some of the beauty but was not so successful.

Here are three that I thought were worth sharing. Please enjoy, no matter how, or what, you celebrate and take just a moment to remember all those who, throughout the world cannot be home, at this joyous time of the year, with their family and friends.

Santa himself, all alone, awaiting some youngster.

Hard to see here, but the tree is all decorated and lit.

This is not a small gingerbread house on display. It is a pretty big, kid size, playhouse.

So, for this Christmas eve, that is it. Just wishing you and yours and soldiers and vets everywhere the best holidays ever.

Next time, on the 29th, I will post some more pics from Ireland's west coast before getting back to the job at hand: Vietnam memorials in the New Year.

To see Vietnam memorials from around the USA, please click on a state name on the left side of this page.

Monday, December 19, 2016

2016 Holidays

As anyone who has followed this post, for any time, knows at this time of year I try to post something other than stories about Vietnam memorials. It just seems incongruent to write about the loss of so many at this particular season of joy and renewal.

So, I have been thinking about what to share this year.

I visited Ireland in the fall and these are a few of the more interesting pics I was able to take.

An ancient Irish High Cross. Most of these were destroyed by Oliver Cromwell and his troops who used them for target practice. I have seen these before but never with this detail and color. It seems the originals, which depict Bible scenes, etc, were highly colorized by the builders.

This is an Ogham stone. Note the carved slashed on the edges, this is an example of what is often called Tree Writing as the slashes come off a center line. the Ogham alphabet at 25 letters and these stones were a type of message board, sometimes marking boundaries.

This stands just on the edge of Stephens Green in Dublin. It commemorates those lost in the Irish Famine.There is currently a movement to stop using the term famine, because famine connotes that this tragedy was an act of nature, it was not. There was NO famine in Ireland. There was a potato blight and millions of people dies or fled Ireland, half the population was lost, but it was completely man made. All the crops, other than the potatoes were taken and shipped to England. The Irish were left with only the potatoes, and they were destroyed by the blight, hence the starvation. In an effort to unsanitize this treachery, the movement to call it what it was, has emerged.

This a Dolmen, thought to be a burial facility, and they are scattered all across Ireland. Ions ago, it would have been a completely covered in stone. It is believed that over the centuries the missing stones were carried away for other purposes.

And, finally, the Molly Malone statue in Dublin. The Irish have a quick sense of humor and they have a propensity for calling things by other names. I have seen another statue of a water sprite in flowing water which has been renamed by the locals as The Floozy in the Jacuzzi, well, so too this the famous Molly, renamed the Tart with the Cart. It is also customary to flip a coin into her ample cleavage for luck. Ah, the Irish!

So, that's it for today. I hope to have a special greeting up on the 24th, so if you have a minute at this hectic time of the year, plaese check back.

Otherwise, have a most joyous and peaceful hoiday however you choose to celebrate it.

If you are brand new to this site, click on a state name at the left to see Vietnam memorials from any state in the union and check back often as new ones are posted every 5th day at 9:00am.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Florida XI

I had read, somewhere, that there was a memorial in Tropical Park in Miami. so, I found my way over to this beautiful park that was filled with all the regular amenities, playing fields, shelters, lakes etc and a stadium. I drove all through the place and could find no memorial, so I stopped a worked and asked him and he assured me that no such memorial existed, He told me that the park did have a memorial to Police Officers but not to veterans.

I was disappointed but figured this trip was a bust, far from the first time info had been wrong. As I continued through the park, I just decided that this was not correct. I knew what I had read.

So, I just kept wandering around and was actually on the verge of giving up when off in the distance, amongst some palms, I saw an American Flag.

Base of the monument

I drove over and there is was.

This is a multi-war memorial honoring several wars, no names are listed, but I still found it elegant and beautiful. I had been to another site in the area to find that a memorial I had read about was not yet installed. Perhaps, more on that at a later time.

So, the lesson, this time, was trust your knowledge and instincts. If I had given up this one would have been lost.

Next time, on the 19th, I hope to have some pics of the seasons decorations at The
Wall, so, check back then, 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.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Connecticut XI

We happened to roll in to Norwich on Memorial Day a couple of years back and we were pleased to find crowds on Veteran's Green having a memorial ceremony.

A stage had been constructed and there were a number of people in uniform and the remnants of a band nearby. we arrived just as things were winding up, but it was still great to see a town celebrating, honoring and remembering her vets.

The Green consists of a number of memorials to vets from various wars, but I thought it just a little unusual to find a 'Nam and a POW/MIA of equal size, right next to each other.

Throughout the Green are these other memorials, not specific, but just as meaningful.

In addition to the larger, probably newer one, this is dedicated to all POW/MIA's. Again, it does not mention a particular war, but the soldier named died in 1973. When I see these memorials dedicated to those who were lost in 73 or beyond, I always think of John Kerry's question when testifying before congress, paraphrased here to "who will be the last to die?"

Next time, on the 14th, we will return to Florida, so join me there, 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.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Colorado XXV

The Boulder Municipal Building sits at 1777 Broadway and on its grounds rests this memorial to the 25 from the area that were lost or missing.

The one missing man is Jim Hamm and I have written before about him on this site. If you want to read that post, click Colorado on the left and scroll back 'til you find the posts from Longmont. Jim Hamm was assumed captured but has never come home and has been declared dead. RIP

The top of the memorial is inscribed.

 Below the names of those lost, embedded in the brick, is a plaque.

The plaque is dedicated to the memory of Neil J. Neitenbach who died on July 14, 1992. I have made a number of inquiries, in a number of places, but can find absolutely nothing about this man. As always, I turn to you for help. If you know anything about who this is, let me know and I will update here.

Next time, on December 9, we will revisit Connecticut, so, join me there at 9:00am.

To see other memorials from Colorado, or any other state, click the state name on the left side of this page.
Update: Today, November 12th, 2020 I heard from Neil's wife who happened upon this site. Neil was the creator of this memorial and the night he completed it, the day before its dedication, he went out with friends on his motorcycle. He was involved in a not fully explained accident and was killed.
His wife now lives in North Dakota and his daughter is in the Navy. She was five when he was lost and visits this site when in Colorado.

Once again, as so often is the case, I find there is more to the story and once again my plea for help was heard. I took these photos in 2011, posted them in 2017, and today, finally, have my question answered. Thank you.

R.I.P. Neil and thank you for caring and for your memorial.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


This is a first.

Today we are going International.

This memorial in Windsor, Ontario, Canada was built along the banks of the Detroit River which divides our two countries. It is actually south of Detroit and honors 103 Canadians including 7 MIAs.

The memorial is often referred to as The North Wall or Wall North. I have written previously, on this site, about Wall South and Wall West and you can find those by clicking on Florida or California respectively and scrolling back until you find them.

The memorial plaques are made of the same black granite that The Wall in DC is made from.

My understanding is that when it was built Canada had no memorials to those lost in Vietnam. The Detroit chapter of the Military Association of Concerned Veterans (MACV) wanted to honor our brothers from the north and created this memorial for them. Nearly 30,000 Canadians joined the U.S. Military to fight in Vietnam. This was illegal by Canadian law and each of these had to claim that they resided in a US city, perhaps this is why Canada had no memorials at the time.

Each year a wreath placing ceremony is held with representatives from Canad and the US, families, and supporters in attendance.

Since this memorial was completed I have read that Canada has created several and even has a Traveling Wall like the ones here. I have not seen any of these so am going on what I have been told or read. If you are aware of other memorials, as always, I would like to know about them.

Nearby is this beautiful American Flag, a Canadian flag similar to this one is on the other side of the memorial.

The memorial is located in Assumption Park right at the Ambassador Bridge connecting Detroit with Windsor.

I recently returned from Ireland where I was able to find two memorials that honor Irish citizens lost in 'Nam. That is an interesting story, so be watching for it in the not too distant future.

Next time, on December 4th, we will return to Colorado, so join me there as usual at 9:00am.

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

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

Taking some time with family and I hope that you are too.

Each of us have things that we should be thankful for and I hope that today you will take a few moments to remember.


This guy is safe in the mountains south of Denver, so he has something to be thankful for, too.

Next time, after the holidays, we will, for the first time, go International and visit Windsor, Ontario, so, join me there on the 29th, as always, at 9:00am.

To see Vietnam memorials from any state click on the state name on the left side of this page.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Arizona XII

Willcox lies about 80 miles due east of Tucson along I-10.

This memorial was dedicated om 11-11-11 to the six from the area that were lost. The 2010 census put the towns population at 3757.  I was there the following March


It features the familiar Field Cross of which I have written before. For those who are new to it, is a tradition reported to have begun in the Civil War. A fallen soldier was marked by inverting his rifle and placing his head gear on top. Today, this usually includes his boots and one can tell from which war the soldier was by the helmet. I have seen far too many of these where no one bothered to check that and they use a modern helmet, which is somewhat different than those we had in 'Nam. It really annoys me.

Willcox got it right.

Nearby is a marker to those that are MIA. Nice job Willcox and thanks for taking the time to do it right.

 These may be found in Railroad Avenue Park.

Next time, look for a Thanksgiving greeting.

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

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Washington VIII

This past Sunday, the 15th, a brand new Vancouver Vietnam memorial was dedicated at the Vancouver Veterans Administration Campus. It lists and honors the 58 from Vancouver that paid the ultimate price for their country.

I was in Vancouver about this time last year to visit and photograph the the existing memorial. It too is located on the VA campus and in truth, the new one seems to be an upgrade of the older one.

The site is a little difficult to find as the VA is a pretty big place in Vancouver, but we found it and it is a memorial garden, memorial and a small but very interesting little museum.

Walking through the beautiful site brought us to the memorial it self.

The plaza below the Huey has a large POW/MIA "flag" and a number of dedicated bricks. T
he new one, I read, has added a Wall with the names of all those lost.

I assume that the new site has replenished some of the grandeur of the original as it seemed a bit worn when I visited, but, that may mean that it is often visited and that has to be a good thing.

If I am able to get back to Vancouver, I will certainly check out the new additions and in a future post I will tell you more about the little museum and the two vets we found running it. We (Steve and I) had a great visit with them.

It may be found at the VA, 1601 E. Forth Plain Road.

So, next time, on the 21st, meet me back in Arizona, as always at 9:00am.

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

Friday, November 11, 2016

Veteran's Day 2016

Any who have been following this site for any time know that on certain days I try to do something a little different.

Often, on Veteran's Day I try to find a special memorial or tell the story of the day's history etc.

This year I want to tell you of my personal 45 year journey, just completed in the last few days.

In 1966 I was drafted, went to Fort Bragg and then on to Fort Eustis, Va., the Army's Transportation School's location.

There I hooked up with guys that I will consider my friends for the rest of my life. There were several: Ed, Bob and John, in particular. We all ended up together in 'Nam as boat operators. We ran supply up and down the Mekong River to several outposts. As duty in 'Nam goes, it was not the worst, although it did get hairy when we started taking fire from an unseen enemy. Rockets were not unheard off, mostly, but not always, they seemed to miss. We had nothing but M-14's, pretty damn useless.

We all parted company after getting back to the world and tried to get on with our lives, I suppose. As some years went by, I started to think about these guys more and more. After the coming of the internet, I started trying to locate some of them. I knew that Ed and Bob were from Maryland and John was from New York.

Well, I did this off and on to no avail. I could not find one word about these guys anywhere and I would give up for a while, then pick up the search again at some point.

In the last few years, I have been involved in a PTSD group at my local Vet Center and one of the guys said that he had heard from a buddy he hadn't seen or spoken to in 40 some years. The guy told him he was able to find him because he (my buddy) had a fairly uncommon name.

Well, this got me thinking. Who had the most unusual name in our small group? I remembered a guy with a name that you don't hear every day and very quickly found him. Unfortunately, he had less information than I did about the other guys, I, however, was encouraged that I had found one of the old group.

I dug in and started really digging deeper into info sites and, eventually, through some real estate records found John! Using that info, I was able to find him on FB and the minute I saw his page, even after all these years, I knew I had found him. I thought I had really accomplished the impossible, I was elated.

Not so quick! It turns out that John had a FB page that would no longer accept "Friend" requests. Never seen that before, but could not contact him.

I realized after some time that his page had accepted friends at one time, so I messaged every single one of them. In time one of them, the son of his cousin (if I remember correctly) a thirteen year old, notified John that I was looking for him and John, after more than 45 years, contacted me

He said he had been looking for me, too.

Vietnam Memorial in Eisenhower Park in East Meadow, NY

Freedom Tower at the WTC, NY
We exchanged some emails and phone calls and I drove up to Long Island to see him. We went to the Freedom Tower at the World Trade Center and located a number of Vietnam memorials on long Island, one of which is in his home town and has his name on it, as one who served. He also showed me where a previous memorial stood that had him listed as KIA! He was happy that this was corrected on the new one!

Huntington Township Vietnam Memorial
It turns out that we had both been teachers and photographers so we had way too much to talk about and not enough time to cover all we wanted to say.

It struck me how we remember, or perhaps don't remember things, events and episodes in our own lives. There were several memories that I have carried for 50 years that I now know are just wrong and I remembered things that John had completely forgotten. He told me a story about how on our way to 'Nam, I had been reading John Lennon's A Spaniard in the Works. there was a liner in it that I found funny. "Waggie tail, doggie, waggie tail" I don't know why, but I found that very funny. Now, all these years and several dogs later, John's dog Brutus II, wags his tail madly every time John utters these words. It is funny what your mind does. My PTSD therapist says that the mind does its best to protect you from trauma, by erasing certain memories. I guess this is true as I still struggle with trying to figure out what and why I have forgotten or repressed so much.

I guess the point of this post is this. I've have written a little about these events on FB and a number of you have written back speaking of your frustration in trying to reach old buddies. Well, don't give up, keep trying, because you never know when some thirteen year old kid, that you have never met, will get you in contact with one of them.

In the meantime, accept and enjoy the thanks of a grateful nation on this Veteran's Day. I know that sometimes it seems that there are just a whole lot of vets out there, but at any given time, only one or one and a half percent of the population actually serves, so it isn't as many as it may seem.

Good luck in search for your buddies and Welcome Home.

Next time, on the 16th, we will return to Washington, so join me there at 9:00am. as always.

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

Sunday, November 6, 2016

South Dakota XIX

While cruising through South Dakota, I came upon the veterans cemetery in Mitchell. While it is, like all such cemeteries, not specific to Vietnam, I did find some markers and statues that honor our brothers and sisters.

This soldier is not labeled as a Nam vet, but his attire and gear make me think he probably is. 

This guy surveys the whole area.

Another soldier stands his lonely guard. No designation, but once again I think the gear makes him one of us.

And, finally, one we can be sure of.

On the 11th, I hope to have a special, more personal story to tell, so check back then, this time at 11 minutes after 11 o'clock.

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