Dogwood claims oldest Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Charlottesville, VA Dogwood Vietnam Memoial Dedicated April 20, 1966

The Hill that Heals

Charlottesville, VA suffered its first casualty of the Vietnam War on November 4, 1965.  Shortly afterwards, members of the Charlottesville Dogwood Festival board of directors created and approved a plan for a memorial to honor him and other casualties from the area who would surely follow.  The memorial committee received City approval (but no funds) to erect a paved mini plaza with a flagpole and memorial plaque on a small knoll in McIntire Park prominently visible from the US 250 Bypass.  Before the constuction was completed, the area suffered its second Vietnam casualty.

The memorial plaque states the name and purpose of the memorial.  “The Dogwood Memorial dedicated to the lasting memory of these men and all who served our country in Vietnam.”  And below the casualties’ names “And especially these from the Charlottesville and Albemarle area who gave their lives in that service.”  Construction was completed in January 1966, but the memorial committee decided to delay dedication until April 20,1966 with the larger crowds of the annual Dogwood Festival.  Of over 1000 memorials listed on www.warriorsremembered.com none have an earlier dedication date.

Since its dedication on the park knoll the memorial has become known as “the hill that heals”.  The Dogwood Festival has maintained and expanded the memorial to include the twenty-six fallen warriors from the area, recognizing them with the POW/MIA flag. the five service flags and their own biography plaques. The memorial is rededicated each year during the annual Charlottesville Dogwood Festival.

Reader Reaction to Warriors Remembered

Reader reaction to Warriors Remembered continues to be overwhelmingly positive. This emotional Welcome Home for veterans continues to receive rave reviews.
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Old and Young Warrior Sacrifice Honored

Delaware County, PA Vietnam Veterans Memorial: Lost and forgotten for over forty years, this very unique memorial has been discovered and is being given new life by Pennsylvania veterans.  Brandywine Creek in Pennsylvania is known for the Revolutionary War defeat of General Washington’s army by the British on September 11, 1777.  Unknown patriots who wanted to honor those from Delaware County who were fighting in the Viet Nam war thought it appropriate to combine a cannon from the Revolutionary War with their plaque of remembrance dedicated on November 11, 1966.  With Wendell Willkie quote “For if we want to fight for freedom, we must be prepared to extend it to everyone whether they agree with us or not….”  The monument was recently discovered over grown with brush in an abandoned parking lot and was rededicated on October 15, 2016 on a pedestrian crosswalk near the newly constructed Brandywine Mall where it serves as an impressive reminder of the gallantry of warriors from both wars. And proving It is never too late (or too early) to honor warrior service.

 

Author’s Note: In researching Vietnam Veterans Memorials for Warriors Remembered I compiled a list of over 1000 memorials.  I always tried to avoid claims of which was “the first” because I felt every memorial was a labor of love regardless of its date of birth. The oldest memorial I found to include in Warriors Remembered was the one in Calumet City, Illinois dedicated May 30, 1967.  This memorial near Brandywine battlefield dedicated seven months earlier clearly eclipses that distinction.  My next blog in a few weeks however will point to an even earlier memorial.  My congratulations to every group of veterans and their supporters who have built or continue to build these monuments of remembrance for our fallen and surviving brothers.

New Video of Warriors Remembered Presentation

So often I am told how hearing a sample of the emotional stories in Warriors Remembered helps bring the book and its memorials to life and makes people realize that it is far more than simply pretty pictures.  Unfortunately I am not able to travel to every location that has invited me to make a presentation and do a book signing.

I have now posted a YouTube video of my presentation to reach those far distant from Sugar Land, TX in hopes of making more people aware of the impact Warriors Remembered has had on the veterans’ community and many patriotic civic groups.

You are welcome to use this video if your organization needs a speaker or simply to share it with your friends.  And of course, books are available from www.warriorsremembered.com if you would like to read the 90 other stories in Warriors Remembered.

Warriors Remembered receives outstanding review from MWSA.

The Military Writers Society of America (MWSA) has given a glowing review to Warriors Remembered. An organization of hundreds of military writers, the MWSA’s review is the closest thing to a “peer review” that this photo documentary of Vietnam Veterans Memorials could receive.  Read the full review below.

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MWSA Book Review

Title: Warriors Remembered:  Vietnam Veterans–Welcome Home

Author: Albert J. Nahas;  ISBN: 978-1-934922-29-3; MWSA Reviewer: Michael D. Mullins

Photo-journal that should be in every vet’s library.  

Warriors Remembered: Vietnam Veterans–Welcome Home by Albert J. Nahas is a wonderful pictorial journey to several veterans memorials around America.  Mr. Nahas provides the history of the efforts of those involved in creating monuments to the memory and sacrifice of those who fought for our country, in particular to those who shared the Vietnam experience with him.  He was drawn to include those who fought or served in all our wars, men and women alike.  It is a coffee table book in the truest and best sense of the description. His photography is the next best thing to being at these places in person.

Like most Vietnam vets, I know much of what went into the creation of The Wall in D.C.  I am aware of local memorials, but I knew nothing of the efforts made by others around the country.  Mr. Nahas enlightened me.  He took me places I can’t go.  He showed me things I won’t see up close.  He made tears well up in my eyes, with appreciation and respect for those who worked so diligently to keep memories alive, who salute those who died or otherwise did not come home.  Albert J. Nahas took me on a magic carpet ride around the country with the art of a photographer and the patience of a teacher.  I can feel his emotion. I feel his effort.  I know how much it cost him to produce this work via his own wallet and at the expense of unending emotional commitment. I thank him for it.

I recommend this wonderful book to all who support the military and especially all those who served.

Find 100 unique stories and 285 photos in this photo documentary #WarriorsRemembered at www.warriorsremembered.com

Vietnam Veteran Honored with Street Naming

Anniston, Alabama: The City of Anniston has chosen to honor Vietnam veteran Ken Rollins by renaming 17th Street to Ken Rollins Drive.  Ken Rollins was and continues to be the driving force behind creating and updating Centennial Memorial Park in Anniston to include all of Alabama’s fallen in wars of the 20th and 21st centuries.  Just behind the Alabama shaped reflecting pool in the park’s center is the memorial wall listing the 1205 warriors either killed or missing in Vietnam.  Ken has worked for years on this state memorial and is currently working to add walls for those lost in Afghanistan and Iraq.  To honor him and all of the warriors he has honored with his labor, the City of Anniston on September 6 will change the name of 17th Street which runs along side the park to Ken Rollins Drive.  A well deserved recognition for a veteran who continues to serve.  Read this and 99 other memorial stories in Warriors Remembered

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Top Spot on Recommended Summer Reading List

The Military Writers Society of America (MWSA) has selected Warriors Remembered at the top of their recommended summer reading list. In their Summer 2016 “Dispatches” and based on a soon to be published book review, the MWSA has honored Warriors Remembered with this recommendation to its members. Watch soon for their very glowing book review. Request your copy of Warriors Remembered signed by the author.

A New Memorial Every Year

The Atlanta Vietnam Veterans Business Association (AVVBA) is like no other in the United States. In 1987 the AVVBA adopted a specific goal “to bring recognition to those who served and especially those who did not return from Vietnam”. Each year since, on Friday before Memorial Day, somewhere in the greater Atlanta area, the AVVBA has recognized one of Atlanta’s 418 fallen heroes of the Vietnam War with an individual memorial. The Memorial Committee screens potential candidates who represented the best of Atlanta’s youth based on his contributions to the community before his service and for the sacrifice which led to his death. No other criteria are applied. Then near that warrior’s home and in close coordination with family members, school, church or other organizations in which he was active, the committee coordinates a memorial plaque and formal dedication ceremony complete with dignitary speeches, a color guard, service band, printed programs and aircraft flyovers. Since its inception, the AVVBA has erected twenty-nine memorials throughout Atlanta. Association members finance these memorials with their own contributions and coordinate every detail of each ceremony as well as the memorial’s perpetual maintenance. Generous coverage of these ceremonies by local television news broadcasts focuses attention not only on the warrior being recognized, but also on the significance of Memorial Day. If a single result of Warriors Remembered is the creation of similar associations in other U.S. cities or by younger warriors of more recent wars this book will have been a great success. Find this and 99 other unique stories in the photo documentary #WarriorsRemembered at www.warriorsremembered.com

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Warriors Remembered Donated to Worldwide Fisher Houses

Sugar Land, Texas April 25, 2016An anonymous donor has purchased 67 copies of Warriors Remembered that have been distributed to Fisher Houses worldwide. Fisher Houses offer free lodging for families of veterans receiving care at Veterans Administration or military hospitals. Constructed by the Fisher House Foundation, they are donated to the VA or branch of service operating those hospitals. Warriors Remembered is a photo documentary of 100 Vietnam veterans memorials from all 50 states. Warriors Remembered and the Fisher House Foundation share a mission of offering a “Thank You for Your Service” and Welcome Home for all veterans and both recognize the significant sacrifices of veteran families.

Colonel (Ret) Albert J. Nahas, a Vietnam veteran with the 101st Airborne Division from July 1968 to February 1970, spent six years and 35,000 driving miles touring the United States, photographing memorials and interviewing those who created them. From his list of over 1,000 memorials, he selected 100 to represent and honor those who served, were killed or remain missing in Vietnam and the veterans, friends and families who sacrificed in the face of often adverse public opinion to create memorials to honor their fallen brothers in arms.

The donor, a veteran of the Texas Air National Guard, has long admired the sacrifice of all warriors who fought our nation’s wars.  He attended a Warriors Remembered presentation and book signing by Colonel Nahas and took to heart his stated mission of publicizing these memorials often unknown even by veterans living nearby. The book’s stories bring the memorials to life and are meant to kindle continued healing for veterans and for the Nation from the divisiveness of that time in our history. Warriors Remembered also presents the legacy of the Vietnam War in relation to our nation’s current conflicts. The donor’s desire to assist with this mission led him to partner with Colonel Nahas and both agreed the Fisher Houses would be an ideal venue to reach veterans and their families.

Warriors Remembered was released on Veterans Day, 2010 and is a 240-page, hard cover, coffee-table-format photo documentary of 100 Vietnam veterans memorials from all 50 states.  With over 285 photos it tells the stories and captures the struggles and dedication of those who created the memorials. The book also highlights unique features of each memorial that might be missed by a first-time visitor. These memorials are for the dead, but more so for the living. They are meant to be visited. Most of them were built for Vietnam veterans by Vietnam veterans. That war’s combat veterans are a declining generation which adds urgency to the mission of publicizing these memorials for their benefit and for the benefit of all families affected by war. The book is dedicated to all American Warriors and to Colonel Nahas’ twenty-nine West Point classmates who were killed in that war. Warriors Remembered can be previewed at www.warriorsremembered.com  Colonel Nahas will gladly sign any book purchased.

Fisher Houses www.fisherhouse.org provide military families free housing close to a loved one during hospitalization for an illness, disease or injury.

Sky-Pilots … our troubles “in the province of Asia”

8We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia.  We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure so that we despaired for life itself.  9Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death.  But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.  10He has delivered us from such a deadly peril and He will deliver us again.  On Him we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us, 11as you help us by your prayers.  Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.

       The Monroe County Michigan Vietnam Veterans Memorial is a beautiful park displaying two helicopters and multiple memorials.  One is a tribute to “sky-pilots”, the chaplains who brought spiritual guidance and comfort to those in battle. Resting on a stack of C-ration boxes often used as a field altar in Vietnam, the bible of the sky-pilot memorial is appropriately opened to 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 as if a 2000 year old account of St Paul’s travels could have forewarned us of the troubles we would face in Vietnam. This beautiful park is worth a visit. Find this and 99 other unique stories in the photo documentary #WarriorsRemembered at www.warriorsremembered.com

Sky-Pilot memorial

Sky-Pilot memorial