Memorial - Pierre, SD 09/08/14
This Memorial s next to the Capitol grounds, on the river and consists of combat warriors as well as PD, FD, and Medical personel. Each is an individual memorial and each gets the message across.
The Memorial is supposed to be lit at nite with the lites glowing thru the water spouts - I believe its called the Flaming Fountain. Th effect has to be seen to really be appreciated. Today I was the only one there athough its in a well traveled area. Its obviously cared for on a regular basis. Easy to find IF you're willing to look for it. They have all the service flags as well as the POW Flag. I didn't see any sign leading to the site which is fairly normal and relly should be addressed. As I've pointed out before, sometimes the locations are not explained well at all.
This is a naturally quiet spot and when you add in the small stream/waterall its very condusive to thinking about what it represents. Every Memorial brings on the Memories and in talking to some of the local vets, its th sam thing. Everyone remembers somethings differently and yet almost all can relate to each others experiences.
This Memorial has nothing about the veterans here in this country - the ones that "survived the war (or wars) but are now faced with the reality of living with memories. There was one Vietnam Vet that saw me but waited where I had parked - liked my bike, the flag, etc - but really wanted to talk " 'Nam". We only talkd for an hour but we swapped contact info. He told me he will b traveling to DC next May and wanted to know if there would be other Vietnam Vets to talk to. He has mmories that you can see in his eyes. A very quiet easy going gent - I can not imaginee him surviving in war and yet he has. In the little time we spoke he told me how his wif left him while he was deployed to 'Nam, took his kids nad everything he owned. And sadly, he justifies it because of his going to fight in a war. He must have spent the last 40 years apologyzing but has finally realizeed (he says) that does not owe anyone apology. I hope he stays in touch with me.
Memorial - Cody, Wy 09/06/14
Beautiful ride today plus was able to stop and have lunch with "Gator" and his wife, "Gator Bait". Came thru Yellowstone - 100 miles of beautiful land with animals galore. The ride itself was great ranging anywhere from 40 to 80 MPH depnding on where I was. The bike milage varies greatly - keeping it at 65 and below I got about 42mpg. 80 about 32 mpg. Today was an example of how you can enjoy a motorcycle at any speed as well as enjoy th countryside at any speed. You just drive your comfort level. Sea level to about 6000 feet. Little problem being short of breath probably du to my own health. But, regardless, phenominal day
I ended up tonight with my planned stop in Cody, Wy. In the mountains, small town, flags all over the place, polite people. Obviously mostly a tourist destination but the people that live here really live in a heck of a beautiful part of our country. Ended today with a trip to the local Memorial.
The Veteran's Park has memorials to WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam and current conflict. They also have some obilisks representing ALL the places we've had troops deployed to since Vietnam. (There are some lessor known spots missing, but the point is that they are not forgetting). And one obiliskis completly blank - another reminder that are military will never b done defending our freedoms, making those daily sacrifices, as well as the sacrifices their familie are mking. Bless them all.
The primary Memorial (for me) was and always will be, the Vietnam Memorial. This one is shaped similar to The Vietnam Wall but with just the names of th fallen from Wyoming. I don't think I've said this before - when I take all the images I have in my head, of all the Vietnam Memorials I've seen, it sure seems like the Wall in DC isn't big enough. When you see these names you realize how many peoples lives have been touched by the 'Nam war. It seems unfair to me, that there is still so little known about our daily lives in 'Nam. Thank god that someone has remembered.Another beautiful remembrance by those that care.
For those that were not there, I want to write about a day in Vietnam. Although it may have varid from one warrior to the next, its fairly accurate. For the warriors that read this, feel free to write your comments and send to me. (comments concerning your experiences, not comments about my writing! - And yes, I know the "e" in my laptop does its best to avoid the screen!)
Lets pretend, for the moment, that the day started at 0500. Coming off post, trying to get cleaned up, shaved, etc usually in Rice Patty water (freshly fertalized with Water Buffalo waste (and maybe some human). Then maybe cleaning out your bowels in the whole you dig, eat your meal of c rations - food canned during the Korean Conflict AND maybe only one of those a day. Leaving on patrol where you're looking in all directions even thought your assignd only one small direction to look. Looking for the spot you will hit if you're fired upon, constantly changing as your walking. Trying to keep some distance from the other Marines as if you're too close together, you make a better target, but trying to stay close enough as to not lose contact. While watching for the enemy you also watch the villagers both because they're there and because thy could be bad guys, or good guys or whatever depending on who is a bigger threat to them, today. You think about your Mom when you see a female village elder - a Mom to someonee, you think about your kids (or siblings) when you seee the kids in the village. Kids CAN be good as sometimes the enemy avoids killing them as it can turn the villagers against them. But the kids also could be the bad guys, waiting their chance to strike or gathering info for the guys with the guns. If you have a wife, you wonder what she's doing and you know there is zip you can do to help her with any problems at home. You wonder if there will be a mail call today as you haven't seen a letter from home in a week or more. You think about the class presentations your kids are in that you will not see. You hear a sound that could be a bolt sliding home but its just a farmer loading up a cart, or is it. You see the villagers waving at you with their friendly smiles, or are they. You hear a rustling sound in thee bamboo along the trail, a villager, water buffalo, or, is it somthing else. While picking places for concealment, to protect yourself, you realize the dad guys could be in the same place. You remember the day when the Marine in front of you dove off the trail when shot at, only to be impalied on a bamboo stick placd there for that reason. You wonder if you should walk IN the rice paddy as the dikes, which are dry and inviting, could be boobee traped. But so could the rice paddy. You wonder how many leaches you're going to have on you from the rice paddy or from the stream you're trying to wade thru. You haven't seen any news from home so you hope you'll get a paper from home. And then when you do, you read about the protests against you and what you're doing. You wonder why we're trying to give freedoms to the idiots back in the states who are using these freedoms to condem you for what you're doing. You remind yourself that the ammo you're carrying, 200 rounds normally, is the only supplies you can depend on - good for one good fire fight and then you're in deep shit. You're carrying your food, your personal stuff, and you're carrying th memories that you really wish you couldn't remember. You wonder about who will be hit today. And this whole time, you're alert to the impending danger because if you're not, you or your buddy (or both), could be dead in the blinkof an eye.
When you get back to base camp you find mail from home. You read your mail and then share those letters with the guys that got nothing. It doesn't matter that its from your wife to you - it means the Marine you're sharing it with gets a little touch from home. You read the newspaper, share with your buddies, and then use it for toilet paper. You write a letter home IF you still have paper, and IF its not wet from the stream you crossed, and IF your pen hasn't run dry in the extreme heat. You think about going home in another x number of days. Back to the world. And you remember the protestors that greeted you the last time you went home. You remember the guys that are never going home. Then you go on post, watching and listening for the enemy or is parobably having the same day. Somewhere in the last 24 hours you pulled a little time to sleep, clean your weapon, eat, get ready for the next day, if your leadership you'vee also planned th next day, written the letter to the Mom that you never should have to write, talked to the troops that need a little pep talk, assignd the guard details, ordered the supplies (that you don't usually get). And everyone also remembers, its the same thing tomorrow, and a whole lot of tomorrows before you go home, and wonder if you will make it home. And someday, you get home, and, you remember. Everyday, you remember.
I remember all of the above, as do so many of my brothers and sisters. I hope some day that no one will have any of this to remember. But then, I remember.
Back on the ROAD!!
Finally backon the road BUT on a new daily schedule (less mileage on the average) and on the new bike.
Yesterday and today I fell back into the old mode and did about 410 each day. As it turns out, not the best of ideas but I've learned my lesson - shorter per day mileage from here on out (probably). Plus, before, partially out of necessity, a stop for fuel and stretching every 100 miles. The new bike is such a dream that I was doing closer to 150 between breaks - add in a slighlty new seated position and I am one big muscle ache. Still, can't beat being back out there.
Cruising at the speed limit (+/-) but for the most part staying 80 or less (and that is the speeed limit for a lot of these roads, I think. With the big 3 x 5 flag flying anything over 80 eats into the gas milage big time. And I need to get used to the new bike - different balance, power, everything. Seeing as my body can NOT take the impact of the larger bumbs, and I just plain need to be more comfortable and relaxed, well worth the cost. And by RFTW 2015, I'll have the tribute paint job done again. The only time I really need to be carefulis stopping as the legs get down slower - working on that, and tight low speed turns get interesting - different center of balance.
No Memorials yesterday or today as I wanted to gt into Cody tomorrow nite. I'll stop in West Yellowstone (Montana) tomorrow for lunch with "Gator" and his wife, "Gator Bait"! Then on to Cody and the Memorial there.
Ride was pretty uneventful but did have some people tell me they like the flag flying and were pleased with the NFR. A few were Vietnam Vets - they got pretty emotional. Lots of people, again, waving when they drive by, taking pictures, etc (or when I go past them!). I've learnd that when someone speeds up AFTER I go by, they want a picture. As its the flag that's the center of attention, that works for me. Hopefully, when they see a Hero in the airports or wherever, they'll take the time to say "thanks".
I have no idea who or how many are following this, but feel free to start sending comments and questions again! There should be only onemore possible change to the schedule, and that's for the last day at Riverside National Cemetery at the POW/MIA Memorial. Schedule for Oct 1, but may get bumped to Oct 2.
Be safe everyone!
NEVER FORGET !
Memorial — Salt Lake City
Memory Grove Park — a fitting name and tribute to us all. Located next to the State Capitol, obvious and open to all.
The most different is the map of Vietnam with the various locations shown — Landing Zones, Bases, Operations and towns/cities/hamlets/locations that so many of us remember. I can’t tell you how many of those locations I was at, but most of the names I know — what we referred to as “Post of The Corps” — in this case, not places we wanted to be. Reading the names brought back a flood of memories. If you can zoom in on the photo, read and remember. If you’re not a Vietnam Vet, find one and ask them — they’ll remember.
The face of the lone service member has the question in their expression — why? Why do so many today say thank you for our service, but don’t ask about our service? Many of my brothers do not and will not talk of their tours, but some will. Ask. As time goes by, more and more will open up. And I ask of my brothers, talk about your experiences, memories, everything — you need to educate others about the horrors that you suffered. You do not remember alone — tell your stories.
The location is great as there art many other memorials in the area — right next to the Vietnam Memorial is a tribute to the Fallen LEO’s of Utah — another group forgotten faster than they will ever be remembered.