Memorial - Little Rock, Ar 09/13/14
Easy to fond on the Capitol grounds at right at the corner the web site lists. As you walk up from the street the Memorial's backdrop is the State Capitol which is also "framed" by both the USA flag and the POW/MIA flag - adding to the overall impact. Two half moon walls - one on each side of the center 3/4 circle. The circle has the Heroes names listed in alphabetic order and in the very center is a loan soldier in Vietnam warrior dress. Today the warrior had numerous flowers and small USA flags all over him. He has back to thee names and is looking in the general direction of the Capitol. I thought I had a close up of the face but can NOT find it. The look on the face is total shock, loss, disbelief - maybe asking - "why" . For thos that have "been there", you know what I mean.
For me it was emotional more because of the detail - even the equipment was correct - we had to wear the same clothes for what seemed forever. We were happy to have food and ammo - anything else was pure luxury. And we came home.
Memorial/Museum - Branson, Mo 09/12/14
Originally I had not planned anything for Branson. I was being hosted at the Hilton Convention Center (beautiful & very appreciated) and a real nice dinner at a place called McFarlain's Family Restaurant - excellent. Fortunately, the lady (actually a couple of very nice ladies) set up a tour of the Veteran's Memorial Museum covering from WWI to the Persian Golf. Although technically a museum, due to its displays, I consider it to also be Memorial. I'm not sure if I can use the ladies names, but let me tell you - they really respect the veteran's!
Multiple rooms containing memorabilia BUT also a couple of individual rooms listing the KIA's from the individual conflicts. Since its a museum, those rooms also had displays from the specific conflict. I'll get as much as I can to the Eagles Up photo tab - this place has so much variety that its one of those places that you have to see. Uniforms, weapons, letters home, historical pictures, etc, tributes ad memories of some of our well known heroes as well as the "average Joe" that saved so man lives. The lists of names of our KIA's - WWII had 400,000 plus - covers 4 walls. Plus all the other names between then and up to and including thee Persian Gulf wars. Even in this environment, the emotions can seep thru. You can never get away from the real cost of war. and the continued cost.
Memorial - Kansas City (2) 09/11/14
2nd Memorial today. Both of these are considered to be in Kansas City but one is in Kansas City, Kansas, and the other is in Kansas City, Missouri. They are about 16 miles apart.
This Memorial is in a park outside the city, easy to find if you look for it, but the address can be deceiving. When you leave the intersection, just keep driving for a couple of miles and you'll see it. Very different from the 1st one. This one is combined Korean War and Vietnam War. 2 separate side by side - both with a bronze figure of a soldier - one in 'Nam uniform, one in Korean War uniform. A very silent tribute. But what is very similar are the two faces - different people but both with the vacant look that we call the thousand yard stare. They are looking across the park towards the lake but also in each others direction. I know the look as I've seen it on many faces. As the "other Memorial" made me want to come back, this one just didn't want me to leave. I sat down below looking at the two warriors wanting them to look different. They are really an example of what a lot of our warriors went thru and still live with. The artist and designer accomplished maybe more than what they wanted or imagined but they were absolutely successful in showing the impact of war. I would guess that many veterans that see these two bronze figures know exactly what it means. They are not alone. And to many, it will bring back the faces of their not forgotten comrades.
Memorial - Kansas City (1) 09/11/14
The first Memorial today was something a little different. The location was downtown, easy to find, easy parking, nice area, well maintained and beautiful. You have the Wall with the names, of course, but you also have a large area of fountains and small ponds. The symbolism is that of a cleansing and serenity. A new beginning as well as the past - as the water flows away and the new water enters. The sound itself is soothing - added to the visual - it makes you want to sit and relax. I did. And I reflected on not only Vietnam, but, again, of the people that cared enough to even think about remembering our fallen heroes.
I actually walked away twice but felt compelled to come back each time. It was like it had a hold on me - but when I did leave, it was with the knowledge that I'd be back. In the photo's you will find two video's - one stationary, one panning the whole memorial. Its not a Memorial that jumps out at you - its much more of a subtle stroke, a gentle but firm pull at your heart and your mind. It reminds you, or if your not a vet, make you think about the Heroes on the Wall. You want to say thanks to them, you want to give a shoulder to the families, you want to learn more. You want to understand the feelings of the designers and those that made this possible.