Sunday, November 26, 2017

Califirnia XX

About 25 miles ENE of Los Angeles is the town of Azusa.

This beautiful site is a Veterans memorial with an additional Vietnam component.

The gardens are bracketed by many stones the list the names and other details of local vets from a number of U.S. involvements.

The marker at the end of the gardens includes a nail from when the Traveling Wall visited the area. I have written many time in the past about how after The Wall leaves it is not uncommon for those who were touched by it's presence to want to "do" something else, something permanent. It honors all who served and the ten from Azusa that were lost.

This is the first time I have seen one of these memorials, added after the visit, that has incorporated a piece of the departed structure. Cool.

This memorial may be found at 213 E. Foothill Blvd.

Next time, on December 1st, we will return to the east coast to visit Delaware. Join me there as always at 9:00am.

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

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Arizona XVI

Just up the hill from Clifton, where the Mares Bluff memorial is, lies the Morenci High school. You may recall from an earlier post, here, that the first dog-tags at Mares Bluff belonged to the Morenci 9.

I had read, over the years, about a group of high school students who joined the Marine Corp together, but I never really thought that I would get to their town, their school, their memorial.

Morenci lies nearly 200 miles east of Tucson, practically in New Mexico, and I feared it was just too far to make the trip and put it off on other occasions. This trip, however, provided a day with nothing else on my schedule so I jumped at the chance. The drive revealed to me that Arizona has a diverse and beautiful landscape that I never anticipated. I saw snow capped mountains, fertile crop filled valleys and some of the most striking rock formations I have ever encountered.

I arrived at the school and checked in with them, I met the Principal and Vice Principal who showed me the permanent indoor display to the Morenci 9 and the memorial out side the building. the indoor memorial which greets students every morning contains drawings of the men done be students at the school, a folded flag and an open copy of their story as told by Time magazine.

Interestingly, they also pointed off in the near distance to the copper mines with their hundreds and hundreds of trucks and continuous work. It is the second largest copper mine in the world and the largest in the U.S.

 Eight  friends went down to the Marine recruiter and signed up, and one returned from college to join them, they all ended up in 'Nam and six came home in caskets. Morenci, in the 2010 census, had fewer that 1500 citizens. Some poking around in Census files showed that in 1960 the population was 2431 and the 1970 records are incomplete, but it is still obvious that Morenci is a small town and to lose 6 young Marines places it, if not at the top, near the top for losses per population.

You can see here on the memorial that nine names with indicators for the lost.

Joe Sorrelman, the only remaining of the nine, says that they were all classmates, but not really all friends. Several were White a couple Latino and Sorrelman a Navajo and the mining town, at the time, was somewhat segregated, but their experience seemed to erase those barriers.

There are books and YouTube posts about the Morenci Marines, or the Morenci 9, if you are interested in learning more about this remarkable story.

Next time, on the26th, we will head back to California, so meet me there at 9:00am.

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

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Alabama VII

One of the very first trips I ever made on this journey was to Alabama. It was back in February of 2010 and I had no idea that I might return sometime or that this project would continue all these years later.

I had read over the years about the Alabama Vietnam Memorial in Anniston and determined that some day I would get there.
The white cross you see in this pic is a reflection of a simple 911 memorial just opposite this one.

Anniston is not too very far from Atlanta, Georgia, so, recently my buddy, Steve, and I headed out to see it and any others we might find along the way.

Located at 17th and Quintard the park includes several memorials and honors all lost in Vietnam and the other 20th century engagements and remembrances for First Responders. The number of 'Nam guys listed here is 1205, but, varies from 1205 to 1213 to 1224 depending upon where you look. The Virtual Wall ( lists 1224.

The Wall is made of Zimbabwe black granite and is fronted by a reflecting pool shaped like the state.

The arches that grace the whole park were once part of the old Anniston High School and were moved here to become part of the project.

This dedication is among the history and poetry provided here.

Next time, on the 21st, I will tell you the story of the Morenci 9 and show you the monument to them. So, join me then, as always, at 9:00am.

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

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Veterans Day 2017

The following was taken from the Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs page. It tells the history of what we now call Veterans Day.

It includes a number of contacts of use to Vets.

Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs


History of Veterans Day

World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” - officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”

Soldiers of the 353rd Infantry near a church at Stenay, Meuse in France.
Soldiers of the 353rd Infantry near a church at Stenay, Meuse in France, wait for the end of hostilities.  This photo was taken at 10:58 a.m., on November 11, 1918, two minutes before the armistice ending World War I went into effect

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…"
The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m.
The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words:
Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and
Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and
Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.
An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as "Armistice Day." Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation’s history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting in its place the word "Veterans." With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.
Later that same year, on October 8th, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first "Veterans Day Proclamation" which stated: "In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans' organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose. Toward this end, I am designating the Administrator of Veterans' Affairs as Chairman of a Veterans Day National Committee, which shall include such other persons as the Chairman may select, and which will coordinate at the national level necessary planning for the observance. I am also requesting the heads of all departments and agencies of the Executive branch of the Government to assist the National Committee in every way possible."

President Eisenhower signing HR7786, changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day.
President Eisenhower signing HR7786, changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day. From left: Alvin J. King, Wayne Richards, Arthur J. Connell, John T. Nation, Edward Rees, Richard L. Trombla, Howard W. Watts 

On that same day, President Eisenhower sent a letter to the Honorable Harvey V. Higley, Administrator of Veterans' Affairs (VA), designating him as Chairman of the Veterans Day National Committee.
In 1958, the White House advised VA's General Counsel that the 1954 designation of the VA Administrator as Chairman of the Veterans Day National Committee applied to all subsequent VA Administrators. Since March 1989 when VA was elevated to a cabinet level department, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs has served as the committee's chairman.
The Uniform Holiday Bill (Public Law 90-363 (82 Stat. 250)) was signed on June 28, 1968, and was intended to ensure three-day weekends for Federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. It was thought that these extended weekends would encourage travel, recreational and cultural activities and stimulate greater industrial and commercial production. Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holidays on their original dates.
The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on October 25, 1971. It was quite apparent that the commemoration of this day was a matter of historic and patriotic significance to a great number of our citizens, and so on September 20th, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed Public Law 94-97 (89 Stat. 479), which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of November 11, beginning in 1978. This action supported the desires of the overwhelming majority of state legislatures, all major veterans service organizations and the American people.
Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls. The restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.

Connect with us

  • Benefits:
  • Health Care:
    1-877-222-VETS (8387)
  • VA Inspector General: 1-800-488-824

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Washington XII

Anacortes is located on Fildago Island just off the coast of mainland Washington. I have been communicating with my friend Steve, from Anacortes, since he read about my journey in a local reprint of the Washington Post story published in 2010.

He told me that he had found a small memorial which had fallen into disrepair and that he wanted to see if he could do anything about it.

We spoke off and on over the years until I finally got the chance to visit a while back.

We met in a local Starbucks and then he took me to Grand View Cemetery where  we found a brand new memorial to the three from the area that gave all in 'Nam. This part of our country is extremely beautiful and I thank Steve for meeting me and sharing this beautiful memorial.

This last picture is a different view from the cemetery.

Next time, on the 11th, look for a special Veterans Day post at 11:00am.

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