Shortly after the Memorial Day program as I was walking around our Memorial Island and Plaza in our City Park. I realized we didn’t really have a Memorial dedicated to the Vietnam War and our Veterans who sacrificed so much for our country. We had a plaque with thirty three names most of whom none of us knew.
We began the process of gathering a group of Vietnam Veterans in our community and a discussion of do we want a Vietnam Monument and what would or should it look like. We had seven Veterans gather for this discussion. The original idea was a Styrofoam boots/rifle/helmet statute which is used when a service member is killed in action. Nice but we didn’t think that was what we wanted. We discussed the Vietnam Wall located in Washington D.C. and thought we already had this monument. So we searched the Internet in different states to see what they had considered and manufactured. The really neat monument was in Kentucky which is a Sun Dial which hits the name of a soldier every hour. Any way we decided a black stone monument similar to the Wall was what we wanted. But how to design for our community. We found a statement from the Vietnam Monument in Australia. The statement is profound and we modified to cover our community. While we were designing our monument we searched the names of those thirty three and found that only twenty four were actually killed in country while in combat. So we chose to list only those killed in combat action and to recognize all who served in Vietnam War from 1959-1975. Oh by the way the monument is black granite which is mined from a quarry in Africa. Cut to size and shipped by ship to the United States. The Monument Company used a laser to cut in the lettering and the statutes we chose to use. On the left of the list of fallen names is the Vietnam Women’s statute from Washington D.C. looking towards the names and on right side of the fallen names is the Men’s statute which depicts three soldiers of which are a Caucasian, Hispanic and African American soldiers. This statute depicts the diversity of the soldiers who served in the Vietnam War. This statute is looking at the fallen names. In the middle of the monument are the Vietnam Service and Vietnam Campaign medals. The monument is 54 inches tall, by 8” thick, and 13 feet in length. We angled the two stones and raised slightly in the middle.
Above is a photograph of our Vietnam Monument which we dedicated on Saturday July 23, 2016 in Columbian Park in Lafayette IN. This dedication was attended by over five hundred veterans and families from our community. Our Memorial Island in Columbian park has a WWI German Canon, a Gold Star family’s monument, a Purple Heart monument, Spanish American War monument, a most precious monument to the thirteen service members lost in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. Please whenever you are in the Lafayette Area stop by and view our community memorials dedicated to all of our Veterans.