Monday, May 5, 2008

NYC Vietnam Memorial

The New York City Vietnam Memorial is located at 55 Water Street, one block east of Fraunces Tavern, where George Washington bade farewell to his officers at the end of the Revolutionary War. This towering wall of remembrance was erected in 1985, ten years after the Vietnam Era, in honor of the brave men and women who served during the Southeastern Asia conflict between 1961 and 1975.

The excerpts etched into the New York Vietnam Veterans Memorial were chosen from letters, diary entries, and poems written by Americans during the Vietnam Era, which were submitted to the New York Vietnam Veterans Memorial Commission. These quotes are supplemented by news dispatches and public statements about the war and they were etched into the glass block of the 16-foot high, 66-foot long memorial.

To read what is written in each section on the glass wall go here and click onto the diagram.

In 1998 brand new feature was also added to the Vietnam War Veterans Memorial cataloguing the 1,741 names of those New Yorkers who made the highest sacrifice in the service of their homeland. The Walk of Honor, as it is called, includes 12 pylons leading up to the original memorial wall.

On the memorial website you can click on a letter of the alphabet, to find the name and information on someone you may know from New York who perished in Vietnam. Click on their name to post, or read, a tribute to them that someone has written on the web site.

A map of Southeast Asia, also fabricated in stainless steel, greets visitors at the beginning of the Walk. It sets the scene, and offers the names of places in which American troops fought and died in Southeast Asia.

In addition to the names of all New York servicemen killed in Vietnam, there are three special plaque engravings of distinguished servicemen and details about them in one area of the memorial.

The photo below is of Private First Class Dan Bullock, a Marine who lied about his age in order to enlist, and was only 15 years of age when he was killed in action on June 7, 1969. He was the youngest American killed in the Vietnam conflict.

Specialist Four George C. Lang was awarded in the name of Congress, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his own life above and beyond the call of duty.

Lieutenant Vincent R. Capodanno was posthumously the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of Duty as Chaplain, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines.

The following is a poem written by Major Michael Davis O'Donnell, from Springfield Illinois, killed in action on March 24, 1970. He was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal, the Bronze Star, and the Purple Heart. His poem is inscribed on the glass wall:

"If you are able,
save for them a place
inside of you…
and save one backward glance
when you are leaving
for the places they can
no longer go…
Be not ashamed to say
you loved them,
though you may
or may not have always…
Take what they have left
and what they have taught you
with their dying
and keep it with your own…
And in that time
when men decide and feel safe
to call the war insane,
take one moment to embrace
those gentle heroes
you left behind… "

~ Maj. Michael Davis O’Donnell


M.KATE said...

Hi Pat, tks for the post, so informative and i learn something everytime I am here :)

Joanne Kennedy said...

This is a beautiful memorial. I wish we had one here in CA like it.

My brother fought there and has told me so many stories. What hell the men and women went through over there. They all deserve to be honored this way.

I love NY. I love when you take us on trips of the city.

My whole family was born and raised there but me. I'm born and raised in CA but when I go to NY I feel like I've come home.

I've always said, I was the one that should have been born there. I would love to live there.

Kathleen Grace said...

Thank you for sharing this beautiful garden Pat, It is a fitting post for this month that celebrates the sacrifices of so many for our freedoms:>)

Tara said...


WHen I get to go to this Memorial, I am coming back here and printing out your "tour"--it's better than a Fodor book, dear!


Rosie's Whimsy said...

I love that poem. I must show this to former marine......once a marine always a marine.

Thanks again for a great post! ((hugs)) Rosie

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Ohhhh, this one tugs hard on the heartstrings...that last poem and the story of Vincent Capodanno...I can't honor this post in one sitting because it's overwhelming, but I will return to read more.

Thank you again, Pat. I did not have much of a sense of NYC until you began to share with us. I so appreciate it.

willow said...

Beautiful tribute to our vets, Pat.

The poem was especially touching.

Junie Moon said...

Your post is wonderful. This is a touching tribute and I appreciate your sharing it with us. I've visited the memorial in Washington, D.C. but not the one in N.Y.

Beverly said...

What a wonderful memorial, and you have made it so real for us.

I went to school with many young boys that graduated to move on to Vietnam. Such a sad and difficult time for so many.

Mrs. B said...

What a beautiful, touching post Pat. What an amazing place that must be to visit. Thanks for sharing this with us!

Lisa B. said...

Oh God Pat, that just breaks my heart. I read some of the blocks from the wall, I will go back to read the rest and cry some more later. War is just not right. I honestly don't know how politicians live with themselves sending so many people to their deaths...for what...what is worth asking one man to murder another? I very much appreciate the life we have in this country but I could never ask one person to kill another so I can have my happy little life. I grew up watching Vietnam on TV. I was horrified. I can't believe that at this point in human history we cannot find a better way. All I can say is God help us. Those that suffered and died in that conflict can rest assured that I will not forget them. It left a big impression on a very little girl. I better stop. Thanks for giving us all the chance to remember and hopefully think about the choices we make.

Penny @ Lavender Hill Studio said...

A beautiful strikes awe in those of us who are safe here because of the bravery of others. My husband fought there...Thank you for posting this.

Betsy said...

That is a beautiful memorial! Thanks for sharing! And thanks for coming over to my blog a while back and telling me about your nephew. Also, I must say that your white cat is gorgeous! We had cats for 18 years. I miss them!

Linda's Blue Gate said...

It is a small tribute for all our soldiers that do and did so much for us... so many young gallant men...

An Enchanted Cottage said...

I have a lump in my throat after reading that poem... Thanks, Pat... Donna

Rue said...

I read everyone of those quotes on the wall and cried. My dad was there. He came back safely, but he won't talk about it at all, except with Rich. He does talk about coming back though and the way they were treated. You know in isolated incidents, the soldiers are starting to get treated like that again. I hope it stays isolated and doesn't turn into the hatred it was.