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.

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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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Gone … “But not Forgotten”

“A soldier of 19 going on 39 returns from a night patrol and firefight.  His nerves, like his ammunition, are spent.  He carries the burden of an extra rifle that belongs to a fallen buddy; a burden that he will most likely carry for life … mirrored in his … “thousand yard stare”.  His painful memories are dimmed by time … but not forgotten.  His service to his country has been ignored … but not forgotten.  Gone are his fellow veterans who are missing or dead … but not forgotten.”

Clyde Ross Morgan’s PTSD art therapy project became the … But not Forgotten statue for the Utah Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Salt Lake City.  The warrior’s thousand yard stare is perfectly captured in bronze as is his second rifle.  Both bring memories known all too well by Grunts who fought the war.  Like nearly all Vietnam veterans memorials … But not Forgotten is a unique design with a unique background story.  Find this and 99 other unique stories in the photo documentary #WarriorsRemembered at www.warriorsremembered.com

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“We don’t need a Medal of Honor.”

The warrior guards the entrance of the California Vietnam Veterans Memorial.  He is clearly an Infantryman seated on his inverted steel pot for a moment’s rest. His weapon is always close at hand while he reads a letter from home. “I do miss hearing you laugh.  The President says you might be home for Christmas … the best present of all! Please take care of yourself and don’t be a hero. We don’t need a Medal of Honor, we need a son. All our love, Mom & Dad.” Home to a great number of military bases, nearly 10% of all Vietnam casualties claimed California as their home of record.  5,822 names are inscribed on the circular monument including 13 Medal of Honor recipients. Veterans in their own words in the memorial’s 20th anniversary book: “So many young men … lost their lives before they even knew what living was.” Find this and 99 other stories in the photo documentary #WarriorsRemembered at www.warriorsremembered.com

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Reaching “from her heart” the nurse cried.

Just north of New York City at Lasdon Park in the small town of Somers is a Vietnam memorial that is best seen in the height of autumn’s brilliant colors.  The beauty of the fall foliage is in sharp contrast with the dark bronze of the larger than life warrior emerging to bring his wounded comrade to the outstretched arms of the nurse.  A squad of veterans camped at the site to discourage vandalism threatened before the memorial’s dedication.  Early morning sun on the nurse’s back seemed to drive the heavy dew to her eyes.  The squad awoke to find the nurse crying tears that have now stained her face revealing the depth of her compassion.  Unique from other wars, Vietnam veterans memorials frequently include women warriors as equal members of the brotherhood of arms.  Find this and 99 other stories in the photo documentary #WarriorsRemembered at www.warriorsremembered.com

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WR Memorial Stories

In an effort to continue the welcome home Vietnam veterans deserve I will begin publishing here some of the stories of memorials contained in Warriors Remembered. The book is still available, but I have not been able to reach nearly as many Veterans far from Houston as I would like. Hopefully this new effort will gain broader traction. If you like the stories, please forward them to veterans, friends and relatives who may not be aware of the book. www.warriorsremembered.com

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