A Day to Remember the Fallen

May 25, 2014


Politics.  No, it’s not a four letter word, but perhaps it should be.  More lives have been ruined by, families destroyed by, countries torn apart by the games politicians play.  Yesterday was the anniversary of the Fall of Saigon—the end of the Vietnam War, or maybe Churchill had it right when he said (after the WWII victory in North Africa), "the end of the beginning." There are many things about the Vietnam War that were controversial.  It was the war that changed American’s perception of war because television allowed reporters to bring the war into the living rooms of the viewing audience.  The old timers talk about gathering around the television each night to see the pictures of the war and listen in horror to the names of the men and women killed in action that day, praying that no one they knew made the list.  Reporter David Hume Kennerly was quoted as saying, “the whole arc of the war is really captured in photographs. And they go right to your soul.”  There is no doubt that he speaks the truth.  It is also true that for every picture taken, there were millions of images not captured.  No one picture, no matter how skillfully taken could hope to tell the whole story.  But…that is fodder for another day.  


A Day to Remember the Fallen


Today this blogger will turn the spotlight on the Vietnam Memorial, as is fitting since tomorrow is Memorial Day.  Here are 6 things you might not know about this national monument.  
  • First, it was built without government funds.  The 8.3 million dollars raised came from private donations.  
  • Second, the design of the wall came from a 21 year old Yale student rather than a professional architect. 
  • Third, although popular today, the wall created a storm of controversy when it was first constructed.  
  • Fourth, names are still being added to the wall.  
  • Fifth, the offerings (letters, flags, dog tags, photographs, and even a motorcycle) left at the wall are collected by the Rangers of the National Park and stored.  
  • Sixth, all the names on the wall have been read five times.  The last time, November 2012 it took from Wednesday afternoon until Saturday night to read all 58,282 names.  
Remember those who have given their lives for our freedom tomorrow.
Vietnam Memorial

photo shared courtesy of holohololand at freedigitalphotos.net

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