Memorial - Houston, Tx 09/16/14
Today I was able to visit one Memorial with Albert Nahas, Vietnam Veteran, and world class photographer, who authored thee "Warriors Remembered" book - photos of about 60 Vietnam Memorials.
The Memorial that I went to here is in a shopping center and was designed and built by the Vietnamese community. By putting it in a mall its always available for all to visit, pay respect and show to others. A simple Memorial with two soldiers in front of the USA, Vietnam, and, POW Flags. There is a bronze relief that shows, amongst other things, the "boat people" at the end of the war. Being in a Mall also insures lots of viewers and apparently brings in many questions to the community resulting in more people being educated on not only the war itself, but the cost of war.
While standing there talking to Al, a car full of people took the time to waive and give a thumbs up. Might not seem like a lot to som people, but to me it was. The Vietnamese Community took it upon themselves to build this to show everyone that they appreciate and understand the sacrifices we all made, but especially our soldiers. I think it shows in the design and the fact that its WELL MAINTAINED in an extreme high foot traffic area. The respect is exhibited, not just talked about.
Memorial - Lafayette 09/15/14
A little hard to find (which apparently is the norm) but when I got there it was great. I was met by some veterans (each service) and their supporters, the Marine Corps League, and Karen, the lady that put it together. The group had their own Color Guard, I was able to pose with thm all, they all signed the POW/MIA Flag I'm carrying, and I was able to shake all their hands. And few things do I like better than shaking a veterans hand. The MCL also had a donation towards gas - very appreciated as it will cover 8 or 9 of my remaining days.
The monument is at wall shaped like THE Wall but with the names in alphabetical order. But they've added the ages of these fallen warriors. Its a cross section of what we lost (ages) and brings you right into the futility and sadness of war. How many on this wall never had children or never got to watch their children grow. How many of the older ones didn't see the graduations, weddings or grandchildren. How many of these warriors families never got a chance to say goodby or laugh again with their hero. How many lives were effected by these losses. Beautiful Memorial, beautiful support by these veterans, and another day of visiting my fallen warriors.
Memeorial - New Orleans 09/15/14
Th Memorial in New Orleans is located at thee Superdome, outside, 2nd level - overlooks the whole area. Relatively simple with a row of plaques along the wall covering the Vietnam timeline - what was going on around the world. I did not see a list of names although there was some construction going on that blocked some of the wall.
The center piece is a statues of 3 service members - one being carried by the other two. This type of monument is a recurring theme and I think its great. Service members supporting and helping service members is the way it should b. With the 'Nam war, it was the primary support even upon returning to our country. There were 2 laddies sitting there just talking and I asked them about the monument. Thy did not know very much (this just happens to be there "smoking spot" but they at last knew about the Vietnam War - with the exception that they got the dates wrong, the location wrong (apparently didn't know that Vietnam was in Vietnam!), and when I made a comment that President Clinton was responsible for the war, they said I shouldn't blame him for everything as he was a "really nice guy". I told them from this day forward I would no longer blame Clinton for Vietnam. I could not have asked for a better example of how out of touch people are. How can you have ZERO knowledge. I would have pursued it but what could would it have done. Better to leave it with me laughing (sort of) and scratching my head.
To the 3 soldiers in the statue - just remember that you are loved by thousands and we all understand. To everyone reading this - educate the world.
Memorial - Ocen Springs, Ms 09/14/14
I believe this is the first Memorial I've been to where they have photo's of our Fallen Heroes, POW/MIA's and of those that have been returned (remains). I guess the phrase "forever young" sinks in a little more when you're surrounded by the faces.
The Vietnam Memorial is a large rectangle with an opening on each end. You can enter from either end and after viewing the photo's you can sit in the benches in the middle to think, remember or just simply visit. When you look at the photo's (a good many are boot camp (recruit training) photo's - hard to realize that we lost, as a country, so many thousands of our young people in a war that to this day, is not understood. their sacrifices are even talked about as Vietnam Veteran's were treated as if they should be ashamed. I challenge anyone that feels that way to go to this Memorial, stand in the middle, look around at each face, and explain what they should be ashamed of.
Around this Memorial are a dozen plus individual photo's (with citations) for Medal of Honor Recipients from all wars. They are on a 1/3 mile walking path. Walking past this countries Heroes, MoH recipients and all the Fallen Warriors, the salutes to the wives for their sacrifices, the Blue Star Mom's, the submariners, the USS Mississippi, the Medevac Huey - our flags - gives you a lot to think about and a huge amount of thanking. (If we could just get our politicians to walk the 1/3rd mile before they make their POLITICAL decisions on where and when we fought - understand the loss and potential loss BEFIRE you make your decision.
Couple of people there - late on a Sunday - and it was toasty - about 100 degrees with matching humidity. At least on the bike the warm breeze cools me off. But nothing can cool the memories.