Saturday, January 29, 2022

Colorado XXXIII

I have noticed as I have traveled around the country that Vietnam memorials tend, with notable exceptions, to fall into one of three types. I call them "some version of The Wall," "chopper on a stick," and "comrades." 

The first two are pretty obvious I think and the third usually depicts soldiers on patrol, or a fallen solder being aided by others. Occasionally, someone has the forethought to include a women, always, of course, a nurse.

But, even more rarely than any of these is the inclusion of loved ones.

In western Colorado at what is called the Western Slope Vietnam Memorial, Richard Arnold,(Da Nang '65) has done just that. Richard has done several memorials around the country and has often included these overlooked family members.

Today, in this Faces of Remembrance post I will share the faces of the parents in addition to that of the returning Marine.

Mr. Arnold consulted with several vets while designing this memorial and they told him of how their parents had looked upon their return. Not overwhelmingly happy as Richard had imagined them, but more weary and haggard. Exactly what He was able to reflect in these faces.

 
 
And even more so in this Mother. 


Obviously, there is joy but, also, relief from the longest year of their live, too.
 
My brother, the very first to respond to this site all those years ago, commented on how our parents "were" during my tour and how their anxiety and concern increased as the days to my return decreased. I think Richard captured that very thing in this sculpture.

You can find the Western Slope Memorial and the Welcome Home statues at the memorial near Fruita, Colorado.
 
Please, I would ask that any reader who might have pics of Vietnam memorials not found on this site to send them to me. I will be happy to include them here and give the sender full credit. I would like to make this site as comprehensive as possible and my ability to travel to every site out there is limited, so, let me know what you have. You can contact me at the email on the left. 
 
Next time, on the 3rd of February, we will return to Connecticut, so, as always, meet me there at 9:00am.

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

Monday, January 24, 2022

California XXXIX

I ventured into the Naval base at Coronado while visiting the San Diego area a few years back. They have a large "Wall" commemorating those lost in Nam that I will write about in the not too distant future, but, today I want to show you this much smaller memorial that I found close by.

It honors the more than 200 "Gamewardens" of Task force 116 who were lost. TF-116 patrolled the waters of the Mekong Delta driving the Viet Cong into the smaller tributaries where the PBRs and larger boats could not go.

Just behind this obelisk are a couple of the vessels representative of the types these guys spent their time on.

These operations are considered the most successful of the Navy's efforts in 'Nam. The kill ratio was said to be 40/1.

I was a member of the "brown water Navy" even though I was Army. We (the army guys) trained at Norfolk Naval base and Ft. Eustis in Virginia. 

We ran supply of all types down the Mekong River, mostly to Dong Tam and Can Tho. As we were unarmed, except for a couple of M-14s, we were escorted by Navy PBRs while in river-ways. I don't know if they were these guys in particular, but we were mighty glad to have them along, as we sometimes caught fire and rockets from the Cong.

So, I was happy to see these guys commemorated individually from the larger Navy memorial here.

Once again, I would ask that any reader who might have pics of Vietnam memorials not found on this site to send them to me. I will be happy to include them here and give the sender full credit. I would like to make this site as comprehensive as possible and my ability to travel to every site out there is limited, so, let me know what you have. 

Next time, on the 29th, we will return to Colorado, so join me there, as always, at 9:00am.

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

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Arkansas

Just a quick one today. In searching through files (again) to find something new and hopefully of interest, I found these two shots to add to the Faces of Remembrance series.

The Arkansas Vietnam memorial is located on the grounds of the State capitol building in Little Rock and lists the over 600 names from the state that made the ultimate sacrifice.

They are represented by a statue of an infantry soldier watching over the site.

 As is so often the case, his eyes say it all.

Maybe I have just seen too many of these remarkable statues while pursuing this project (it has been more than 12 years now) but, I see not only the 1000 yard stare, but a bewilderment; too be sure from seeing too much himself.

Next time, on the 24th, we will revisit California. Join me there, as always, at 9:00am.to see additional memorials from Arkansas, or any other state, please click the state name on the left side of this page.

Friday, January 14, 2022

Washington XX

In what often feels like a never ending pursuit of something to write about here, I was once again searching through files, trying to find something new. I came across a close-up, portrait like, photo from the memorial I had seen in Spokane, Washington.

I checked the site to make sure that I had not already posted this in my Faces of Remembrance series and was astonished to find that not only had I not published it there, but had not posted about the memorial at all. Yet, I feel as if I did. This has happened before. I discover that I have not posted about memorials that I have distinct memories of writing about. Sometimes I think there are two, perhaps parallel, versions of this effort! Enough crazy talk!

On the upside, I can now tell you about this fantastic site. A friend told me about it but I had a hard time finally getting there as Spokane is over 300 miles east of Seattle. Once I did it was well worth the effort.

I arrived late in the evening and found a hotel that was just across the street from a large park. the park was alive with lights and lanterns and festive decorations. It was beautiful even from my hotel window.

The next morning I headed over and discovered that the memorial was in the same park so I started heading for it. I kept running into shrouded chain link fences every time I got near it. After trying several attempts to access it I was frustrated and ready to quit. Then I heard some voices behind the fence that had been completely shrouded to prevent observation. So, I took a chance and started talking to the voices (yeah, I know..) Finally someone answered. It turns out the portion of the fencing I was near was around the maintenance area for the park. The guys finally, after hearing that I had traveled 3,000 miles to take these picks, let me in. They couldn't have been nicer and one of them even escorted me a distance off to the correct area so I could complete my task.

Nestled among some trees, on a rise, it was difficult to back up enough to capture the large memorial.

Called the Inland Northwest Vietnam Veterans Memorial it is located along the Riverfront Park.

About 300 from the are who were lost are listed around the base.

Note the letter in his hand

The memorial was dedicated in 1985 and in 2021 a renovation was undertaken. There is also a movement to move it from this Highground to the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena to join other memorials. There is some controversy over this and I have not been able to determine if a final decision has been made. One side thinks the Highground was chosen for a reason and is appropriate although it is a little hard to get to, and others think it should be among other war memorials. As I say, If learn the results I will update here.

Next time, on the 19th, we will return to Arkansas, so join me there at 9:00am.

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

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Virginia XXVI

The day was dank and rainy, evening was fast approaching and I thought I might never find this memorial. I knew it was on the campus of James Madison University in Harrisonburg, but no idea as to its exact location.

We, my wife was with me this time,  drove around and around and finally gave up figuring I'd have to return at some other time.

And, there it was. No idea how or why we stumbled upon it.

With literally just minutes of light left I was able to get these pics.

A memorial to many that were lost from the area over the course of several wars and many years, those honored here are members of the Harrisonburg community.

The large plaque, removed from an older memorial, was first placed in 1949 to honor the 138 lost in WWII.

 
 
Along the sides are remembered those from our other more recent conflicts.
 
 
Ten of our brothers from Vietnam are remembered among the many others.
 

Next time, on the 14th, we will return to Washington, so join me there, as always, at 9:00am.
 
To see additional memorials from Virginia, or any other state, please click the state name on the left side of this page.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Pennsylvania XXXVI

I've been waiting quite a while to be able to go see the Berks County, Pennsylvania Vietnam memorial. It is located in Veterans Park in Reading. so, on New Years eve I made the drive. the weather was supposed to be OK, cloudy but warm for December. It really wasn't either. Well, it was cloudy but also raining most of the day and the temp never got anywhere near the 58 degrees that was predicted.

The memorial is in a park that is filled with memorials and Honors to those from nearly all of our involvements, but this one to our comrades in 'Nam dominates the area.

Situated facing Hill Street it is easily accessible from the highway.

It lists the many who served and notes three MIAs. No deaths are noted but one wonders with that many names how that might be possible.

The most dramatic feature is the lone soldier sitting on the steps, but there is more here that i will address in a future post.

I count 65 names and hopefully the majority have survived. Even though there is a joint commission to locate and identify all MIAs that I have mentioned often on this site, we may never know the fate of the three listed here.

Next time, on the 9th, we will take another look at Virginia, so join me there, as always, at 9:00am.

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