Sunday, May 30, 2021

Memorial Day 2021


Once again we pause to remember all those who have given everything for our country.
Armed Forces Memorial, Hawai'i'
 
Some of our excursions into the politics and the soil of other countries have been more popular than others, but no one disputes the sacrifice made by so many.
 
Lincoln, Nebraska 
 
In doing some research for this post it has been shocking to see just how many involvements we have been in over our history. we all know the big ones, Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Civil War, Spanish American, WW1, WW2, Korea, Nam, Middle East, GWOT, but the number of what must be called lesser known is astounding. You can see a list of them taken from Wikipedia here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_military_casualties_of_war

Check it out you just might be amazed.

It is estimated that nearly 1.4 million Americans have been lost in these efforts and today we remember them all.

                                                Virginia Beach, Virginia 

This effort of mine, now spanning 12 years, has been an attempt to honor those lost in Nam and this seems like an appropriate place to say that many of you, over the years have asked ,"Have you done a book?" or "Are you planning to do a book?" and the answer is yes.

In fact, the original plan for A Means to Heal was to be just a book, not a web site, but many advised that it would be wise to have an online presence first. Well, after some hesitation, I decided to give it a shot and over time this online effort eclipsed the book project. That has finally been remedied and the print version of A Means to Heal is available. If interested, please contact your local book store and see if they have it. If not, ask then to get it for you. I've been told that if you do that, they will order extra copies for their shelves. Short of that, you can also get it from Amazon.

So, as you observe Memorial Day take a moment to remember why it exists, what it means, and how many were lost. It is not just about BBQ and beer.

R.I.P. to our brothers and sisters of every era.

Next time, on the 4th of June, we will return to New York, so join me there, as usual, at 9:00am.

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

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

New Mexico XX

I wondered in to the New Mexico State House one evening and found this display of all those from the state to have been recipients of the Medal of Honor.

While, of course it honors all, as it should, I noted that five of the fourteen listed were so awarded for their actions while in Vietnam.

The lighting was particularly horrible and added flash just made things worse, so I thought I might add the individual plaques here, poor lighting not withstanding.

SSG. Dix is interesting to me as I have found him claimed in several other states.  In addition to the MOH, he was awarded a Purple heart and a Cross of Gallantry. Read more about him here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drew_Dennis_Dix

SSG. Miller did 6 tours in Nam, was awarded the Purple Heart six times along with a silver Star and other awards.

You can read more of his story here:

https://sofrep.com/specialoperations/franklin-d-miller-mac-v-sog-awarded-medal-honor-january-5-1970/


W.O II Rocco saved several men from a burning chopper and was awarded several other honors.

Read about his interesting life here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_R._Rocco


LCPL Worley saved several of his comrades by throwing himself on a grenade.

His story is here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_L._Worley

And, finally, Spec 4 Fernandez who also sacrificed himself for his brothers by falling on a grenade.

His story follows here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_D._Fernandez

So, with Memorial Day fast approaching keep the reason for it in mind and remember these and so many others who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country,

Next time, on the 30th I will go off script a little from Vietnam memorials to memorials to those we honor at this time of year. So, join me then at 9:00am to see memorials from other places to our brothers and sisters from all wars.

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

Friday, May 21, 2021

New Jersey XXX

The beautiful New Jersey Vietnam Memorial is one of the very first I ever visited, back in 2009. 

It is large and powerful and you can see some of the original pictures I posted elsewhere on this site.

Today, I just want to share a couple more.

As I shared before you enter through the berms and then are completely engulfed in the site.

Climbing one of the several walkways you find yourself facing the circular wall of names. If there is any memorial that causes you to reflect, as so many attempt to do, this is the one. reflection after reflection after reflection creates an endless array of never ending walls and names.

Below, in the bowl, there is this reminder that many of our brothers and sisters returned home only to perish due to their service. For those who do not know, every year at The Wall in D.C. as part of the In Memory Program, the names of those lost each year due to illness, depression and other related causes are read aloud at The Wall's apex.

Here in New Jersey, the names are inscribed on these pavers.

Next time, on the 26th, we will have another look at New Mexico, so join me there at 9:00am.

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

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Nebraska XVI

I have posted from the magnificent Veterans Memorial Garden in Lincoln, Nebraska before, but it was only in searching for additional sites to include here that I ran across this simple, yet poignant, memorial not far from the larger tribute to those lost in Vietnam, which stands nearby.

Located in Antelope Park at 3200 Veterans Memorial Drive it offers the somewhat unusual approach of not only honoring our brothers and sisters, but also allowing for some venting of anger and frustration with the war, the loss and about what was seen as a fruitless, poorly devised, and led endeavor.

As you can see the sun made this particular shot difficult to see, so I have a few shots better displaying the detail.



 

Three separate writings each reflecting the feelings of the individuals who penned them.

Next time, on the 21st, we will revisit New Jersey, so meet me there as always, at 9:00am.

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

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Massachusetts XX

I have whined repeatedly about not being on the road for more than a year now and, therefore, having to search high and low for something to write about.

I found just a couple of pics from Middleboro, Massachusetts and thought I would share them.

Middleboro has quite a nice Veterans memorial and I have shared the appropriate parts of it with you in the past. You can find those posts elsewhere on this site. If you are new to A Means to Heal, simply click on a state name on the left side of this page and all the posts about that state will line up in reverse chronological order.

The site is covered in dedication bricks but it is a bit unusual to find one to a Vietnamese soldier, let alone a POW. 

 
 
The next pic is the final one, I think, from this site. It seems to have been overlooked previously so I am glad that I came across it in my search as it clearly honors generations of service to our country.

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

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

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Maryland XXX

Just last week The Wall That Heals came to Maryland. It visited Ocean Pines, a community not far from Maryland's chief beach resort of Ocean City.

Ocean Pines is only a few hours from where I live and having seen TWTH in other states I wanted to see if the presentation was the same everywhere.

 
 
With few exceptions which I will cover in a later post, it is much the same.

So, today I will hone in on one small part of the exhibition.

This banner is one of the very first things you see upon entering the area and it is rife with info about the war.

 Here are just a few of the facts that jumped out at me.

There are several young soldiers on The Wall. I have a friend who managed to get in at 16. He survived but lost a leg in the process.

The fathers and sons speaks to some degree to the length of the war. We often here that our current Afghan efforts are our longest war, but it kind of depends on how you are counting. If yo use the numbers as recognized on The Wall, '59-'75, well than maybe that is true, but if you go back to the year the first soldier was killed in Nam, 1965, well then you have a different number. If you go back to our first entry in to Nam, 1953, well a different number still. So, perhaps it is a surprise that the father-son numbers are only three.

You may know that the items left at The Wall are collected each evening and stored in a couple of warehouses. They are catalogued and kept. When the underground Education Center was proposed it was the plan to have a rotating exhibit of these items. Now that the center has been abandoned, who knows what will happen.

Jay Korff of the DC affiliate of ABC did a great story on these items. You can see it here.

https://wjla.com/news/local/left-behind-the-stories-behind-the-items-left-at-the-vietnam-veterans-memorial-wall

As any of you who have been following this site know, the number of names on The Wall has been in discussion and dispute for many years.

Well, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (the guys that built The Wall) and DoD have completed a four year audit to determine, once and for all, the actual count. After discovering errors, duplications and guys not actually lost, the finally have the answer. Obviously, they have not updated the banner yet.

I just check the VVMF website and learned that 3 more names were added in 2020 bringing the total to 58,279.

This of course could change as names, if found to be eligible, are added each May. VVMF has no say in who is found to be eligible, that decision is made by the Department of Defense. If I learn that any were added in 2021, I will update here.

Next time, on the 11th, we will venture back to Massachusetts, so meet me there at 9:00am.

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

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Connecticut XVI

I wrote sometime back about happening on to a Veterans Day event in Norwich, Connecticut: you can check out that post elsewhere on the site.

Today, I thought we might return to see just a few more details from that visit.

The dual flags greeted me upon arrival. You may not know that the POW/MIA flag is considered a federal flag and is the only other flag allowed to fly over the White House and the Capitol building. When flying on a separate pole it hangs at equal height to the American flag and always above any state flag though it seems many do not know this as it is often flown below a state flag.

As I have mentioned previously that while the POW/MIA flag as come to represent all those lost and missing from al wars, it was in fact created by the wife of a POW in 'Nam.

Near by the reviewing stand was the POW/MIA table to honor those fellow soldiers.

"POW-MIA Table Setting
    The Missing Man Table, also known as the Fallen Comrade Table, is a semi-official place of honor in some dining facilities of the US armed forces in memory of fallen, missing in action, or prisoner of war military service-members.  The table serves as the focal point of ceremonial remembrance, originally growing out of US concern of the Vietnam War POW/MIAs.

   Beyond permanent displays in dining facilities, the missing man table is traditionally part of military dining-in ceremonies and service balls.  When presented in a dining-in or service ball, a narration given to the audience explains the symbolism of each item.  The practice of the missing man table has evolved over time and is not currently governed by any US Department of Defense or service-specific guidance.

THE CHAIR IS EMPTY -- THEY ARE NOT HERE



    The small table is set for one, representing the frailty of one prisoner, alone against his or her suppressors.  The table is usually set close to, or within sight of, the entrance to the dining room.

• The table is round showing our everlasting concern for our POW/MIA's.

• The cloth is white symbolizing the purity of their intentions to respond to their country's call to arms.

• The single red rose signifying the blood they may have shed in sacrifice to ensure the freedom of our beloved United States of American. This rose, reminding us of the family and friends of our missing comrades who keep the faith, while awaiting their return.

• The yellow ribbon stands for the yellow ribbons worn on the lapels of the thousands who demand with unyielding determination a proper accounting of our comrades who are not among us tonight.

• A slice of lemon reminding us of the bitter fate of those missing, captured and held as prisoners in foreign lands.

• A pinch of salt denoting the tears of our missing and their families who long for answers after decades of uncertainty.

• The Holy Bible represents the strength gained through faith in our country, founded as one nation under God, to sustain those lost from our midst.

• The lighted candle reflects the light of hope which lives in our hearts to illuminate their way home, away from their captors, to the open arms of a grateful nation.

• The glass is inverted symbolizing their inability to share the evening's toast.

Let us remember and never forget their sacrifices.  May God forever watch over them and protect them and their families."

 

The above was copied verbatim from The American Legion, my thanks to them.

Note that ion the pic of the Field Cross under the table that the helmet seems to be from the Vietnam era.

And finally, here is a pic of just a few of the troops on hand for this event.

 Next time, on the 11th, we will return to Maryland, so join me there at 9:00am.

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