Saturday, March 27, 2021

National Vietnam War Veterans Day 2021

I know that I said we would be in Virginia this week but I thought I would post this first.

"National Vietnam War Veterans Day is observed every year on March 29 and is a way to thank and honor our nation’s Vietnam veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice. There are 5 objectives with Vietnam Commemoration and the other four are:

  • Highlight the service of our Armed Forces and support organizations during the war
  • Pay tribute to wartime contributions at home by American citizens
  • Highlight technology, science and medical advances made during the war
  • Recognize contributions by our Allies

National Vietnam War Veterans Day will be observed on Monday, March 29, 2021.

Organizers canceled or postponed many events to slow the spread of COVID-19 through social distancing. Veterans are encouraged to stay connected and participate in virtual events.

Vietnam War Veterans Day Virtual Events and Activities
  • Facebook
    • For Veterans with a Facebook account, they can download a frame to place a picture and show their pride for serving. The frame shows the Vietnam War Veteran day pin and the text “Proud Vietnam War Veteran.”
    • For anyone who wants to show appreciation for Vietnam War Veterans, an additional frame can be downloaded. The frame shows the Vietnam War Commemoration logo and the text “I support Vietnam War Veterans.”
    • The VA will also release two short videos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
  • Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund
  • Vietnam Veterans of America
    • Vietnam Veterans of America, or VVA, wants to see photos, poems, artwork and music on their Facebook page March 27. The comment with the most “Likes” will win a prize from the national office.
    • On March 29, Vietnam Veterans can share their service photos on the VVA Facebook page as the nation remembers heroes for their service and sacrifice.
    • Vietnam Veterans can share their favorite C-Ration recipe or meal on the VVA Facebook page March 30. The winner with the most “Likes” will win a prize from the national office.
  • Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pins
    • The Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin has become “a lasting memento of the Nation’s thanks.” Living U.S. Veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces at any time during the period of November 1, 1955, to May 15, 1975, regardless of location, are eligible to receive one lapel pin.
    • Normally, these lapel pins are presented during a dignified, public ceremony to individual Vietnam Veterans. However, given the global pandemic, most commemorative events have been postponed, while others have been rescheduled for next year.
    • As a unique alternative during this challenging period, The Vietnam War Commemoration is encouraging Vietnam Veterans to submit a request for their lapel pin via email at whs.vnwar50th_events@mail.mil. At the earliest opportunity, Veterans will receive a lapel pin in the mail.
  • Team RWB Vietnam War Veterans Day Challenge
    • In recognition of all who served in the Vietnam War, Team RWB is offering a virtual Vietnam War Veterans Day Workout of the Day (WOD). The challenge includes exercises like squats, push ups, and a run or walk. Veterans can complete the challenge at home on their own schedule, at their own pace, alone or with a partner. Team RWB asks participants to give it their all and to pause, remembering those who served and sacrificed.
    • Access the challenge through the Team RWB App or at TeamRWB.org.

Who does Vietnam War Commemoration Honor?

U.S. Armed Forces personnel with active duty service between November 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975, regardless of location of service which includes:

  • Nine million Americans serving during that time
  • 6.4 million Americans living today
  • 2.7 million U.S. service members who served in Vietnam
  • 58,000 whose names are memorialized on a black granite wall in our Nation’s capital
  • 304,000 who were wounded
  • 1,253 Missing in Action (MIA) heroes who have not yet returned to American soil
  • 2,500 Prisoners of War (POWs)

The commemoration makes no distinction between veterans who served in-county, in-theater, or were stationed elsewhere during those 20 years.

Origins of National Vietnam War Veterans Day Commemoration

  • 2007: Congress incorporated language in H.R. 4986 authorizing a program commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War
  • 2008: H.R. 4986 was signed into law on January 28, 2008
  • 2012: The Vietnam War Commemoration began with the Presidential inaugural event at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. on Memorial Day, May 28, 2012
  • 2017: The Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017 established The National Vietnam War Veterans Day to be celebrate each year on March 29
  • Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War will continue through Veterans Day, 2025

Observing National Vietnam War Veterans Day

Over 11,000 local, state and national organizations, businesses, sports franchises and governmental agencies, including the Department of Veterans Affairs, have committed to be commemorative partners to hosting ceremonies, programs, events and activities that commemorate the 50 year anniversary of the Vietnam War.

Activities Include:

  • Wreath laying ceremony at The Vietnam War Memorial “The Wall”
  • Ceremonies and activities at VA Medical facilities across the country
  • The National Cemetery Administration (NCA) will recognize, honor and thank Vietnam era veterans and their families with commemorative ceremonies

Visit the official DoD site VietnamWar50th.com for a full schedule of local events, resources and history."

All of the above was taken directly from the National Vietnam War Veterans Day 2021page. It was edited slightly for up to date information. 

Click. or copy this link for a brief tribute to the eight women on The Wall:

 https://vimeo.com/521022071/aa888f3fd5

Next time, on the 1st, we will revisit Virginia as promised. Meet me there for a interesting story that took me on a journey of thousands of miles and several years to complete.

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

Monday, March 22, 2021

About 100 miles northwest of Sioux Falls is the town of Woonsocket and I have written about it previously on this site.

They have a really nice war memorial here that highlights the service and sacrifice of their sons and daughters.

I wanted, today, to once again highlight the faces of some who are remembered here.

 
Here the face of a Sailor, not designated to any particular war, is honored and remembered. He could be anybody from any war.

These pictures were taken before I had created the Faces of Remembrance subgroup of A Means to Heal so I am cropping them out of larger shots. therefore the quality varies. That being said they deserve no less honor and tribute.


This guy is designated as a Vietnam soldier and his expression seems to me to be the only thing needed to tell his story.

There are other faces here too and as I have often said, I am astounded at what small places do for their own. 

Almost unbelievably Woonsocket has a population of 665 as of the last census. Absolutely stunning. Well done!

Next time, on the 27th, we will return to Virginia, so join me there at 9:00am.

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

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

The Irish in Vietnam


The Irish in America have a long and storied history said to have begun with the explorations of Saint Brendan who arrived in the 6th century. Irish cave drawings have been found as far south as West Virginia dated to that time.

But that is not what I want to focus on today.

It is little known, even in Ireland, that about 2500 Irish citizens came to America and Australia to join the military and fight in Vietnam.

29 were killed. Including one of the eight military nurses lost in Nam. Her name was Pam Donovan and she, with the other seven, is honored on The Wall in D.C. She had been in county for three months.

There are only a couple of memorials in Ireland to these comrades who fought and died along side us and if you search through this site you will come across a couple.

A few years ago I was made aware of a memorial honoring them all in Ennis, Ireland. So, I went to see it only to find out that it had not actually been built yet and could find no one who knew anything about it.

A year or two after that, it was built but I have not yet been able to get back to see it. I will and it will be honored here, too.

The efforts to build a memorial in Ireland to The 29 as they are called was fraught with difficulties and at one time it was thought to be a failed effort. I am assured now that it did finally happen.

I've written before here about the efforts made to identify and honor these men and women, including a visit by the VVMF's The Wall That Heals. At the time of that visit, 1989, 16 soldiers had been identified.

"The Irish-born citizens who died in Vietnam were Timothy Daly, Limerick; Sean Timothy Doran, Dublin; Lt John Cecil Driver, Dublin; Bernard Anthony Freyne, Roscommon; Patrick Gallagher, Mayo; Edward Michael Howell, Dublin; Capt Edmond John Landers, Tipperary; Paul Ivan Maher, Dublin; Peter Mary Nee, Galway; Patrick Christopher Nevin, Mayo; Maurice Joseph O'Callaghan, Dublin; Lt Anthony Paul O'Reilly, Galway; Edward Anthony Scully, Cork; Michael Francis Smith, Cavan."

Since then the number has grown. The quote above is from an Irish newspaper written at the time of the visit, you'll note that Pam Donovan's name is not listed.

It has been estimated that half the names on The Wall are of Irish descent.

So, on this Saint Patrick's Day take a moment to remember the Irish who served and died along side us and raise a glass to them.

Slainte' to all of you and to all of them.

Next time, on the 22nd, we will return to South Dakota, so join me there, as always, at 9:00am.

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


Friday, March 12, 2021

Pennsylvania XXXII

Taylor is a suburb of Scranton, Pennsylvania and along Main Street on the grounds of the Community Center is this unusual and, perhaps, one of a kind memorial.

Its star shape is thought to be the only one of its kind.

The names engraved upon the Pennsylvania Blue Stone are those who have served over the years. There are no designations as to when or where their service was given or, as far as I could determine, if any one gave their life. Nearby, there is a separate stone with short list of names to be remembered, but, again, no other designation.

There are pavers around the area and these have some specifics. these are just two of several I found designation Vietnam.


I have read that there is another memorial in Taylor and I will get back to see it at some time and if it is Vietnam specific in any way, you can bet you will see it here.

Next time, on the 17th, I'll speak to the service of the Irish in Vietnam, so meet me here, as always, at 9:00am.

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

Sunday, March 7, 2021

I know that I promised a new memorial from Pennsylvania for today, but I got to thinking about my brother. He would have been 67 tomorrow. He passed quickly and unexpectedly in 2009. We still don't know exactly why. He had some health problems but they seemed mostly under control. I spoke to him on Thursday, he didn't feel well on Friday and was gone on Saturday.

I have written about him before here, but I hope you will indulge me a few more words.

We were diametrically opposed in almost all things. He was as far to one side of the spectrum as I am to the other. We used to argue all the time at the bar we owned together. The customers loved it and in fact encouraged it. We'd be behind the bar and one of the regulars would make a controversial comment and then sit back to see what would happen, for the fireworks to begin. Usually the battle that would ensue delighted the one who started it and it always ended in a laugh.

Always except once.

I don't remember the details of how this particular episode began, but it was about Vietnam. We went back and forth for a bit and, predictably I guess, it became more and more intense the more we argued our points.

This was in the eighties, if I recall correctly, so I had been back for maybe 15 years. I'd have thought, at the time, that enough distance had been created by that much time so that anything said would have not been a problem. Remember that PTS, or PTSS or PTSD as it was called at various times was not even officially identified yet. That didn't happen until 1989. 

We know better now, of course.

Anyway, something was said, tempers flared, and extremely unkind, mean spirited, hurtful, designed to score points, remarks were made.

Denny, my brother, stormed out from behind the bar.

I was left trying to put a good face on it to the folks sitting is mute shock across the bar from me.

I felt awful. Vietnam had scored another victory. The rage and hurt that I had tried so hard to keep tamped down chalked up another score.

To say that Denny was a taciturn man could only be described as the understatement of the year. So, later, when he came out from the office I wasn't sure what to expect.

I was standing near the bar, but not behind it, as another bartender had come on duty. Denny walked up beside me, gently bumped my shoulder with his, and didn't say a word. He didn't have to, I knew what he was "saying." We were OK.

Many years later, he was the first to respond to my first post on this site. He couldn't have been more enthusiastic. I was stunned at the words he wrote in the longest email he had ever sent me. I have joked that he said more in that email than he'd ever said in person. I still have it. I treasure it.

I've written before about how ten days after that email, he was dead. Unexpected and, mercifully I guess, pretty quick.

He is in many ways responsible for this site being able to continue and grow. He left me a little money and I have, as a result, been able to keep doing this, to avoid unwanted advertising, and make A Means to Heal what it is, what I wanted it to be. I have been able to honor our fallen brothers and sisters without any concerns about to whom I was indebted.

Denny at the bar we owned.   
Thank you Denny, I love you and miss you. 

Happy birthday.

Next time, on the 12th, I'll bring you the aforementioned post from Pennsylvania. Meet me here at 9:00am.

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

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Nebraska XV

Sometimes I feel like a broken record, but I have to admire a town of fewer that 3500 people for having the determination, tenacity, and most of all respect for the service of the few to build such a magnificent memorial.

Like in so many small towns this site is what is called a multi-war memorial: honoring all in one place.

Auburn, named after Auburn New York, lies nearly 65 miles south of Omaha.

The memorial features the names of nearly 1,000 who served on one side of the black granite and pictures depicting scenes from the civil war through the current day on the reverse side.


Those honored are listed alphabetically with details listed.

A separate stone honors all who were lost.

The whole memorial site is watched over by this guy reminding us of the traits common to those who choose to serve the Nation: risking all.

I spoke at some length today with a vet from Nebraska who is part of a group building a new Vietnam memorial in Papillion, Nebraska which is about 13 miles from Omaha. The site is in early stages though much work has been accomplished and they hope that perhaps it might be completed by the end of the year, It will honor all 386 Nebraskans lost in the war. 

I am excited by this new project and hope to be able to travel to Nebraska and see it. Hopefully by the end of the year travel will be safer and I can get back on the road. You can bet that you will see it here.

Next time, on the 7th, we will return to Pennsylvania, so meet me there, as usual, at 9:00am.

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