War memorial: It’s about time

Here is a comment with which we heartily agree. It was made by Jay Duffy, speaking at a recent meeting of the Milford selectmen:

“It’s been 41 years since the fall of Saigon, and it’s time these men were recognized.”

Duffy, a member of a group interested in constructing a memorial to men and women who served in Vietnam, wants to see it at the entrance to Keyes Memorial Park on Elm Street, on top of the Fletcher Paint Superfund site when cleanup work is completed there.

The memorial is being sheparded by a group called the Keyes Memorial Park Expansion Special Interest Group started by Jerry Guthrie, a Vietnam veteran who has been pushing for a memorial for several years. There seems to be general support for the project, but some town officials are, rightly, seeking a little more information.

For instance, selectmen’s Chairman Mark Fougere said the project must garner public support and that voters at next Town Meeting will have to approve fundraising. To get such support, he suggested posting drawings of the proposal online and seeking feedback from the public.

Plans call for a 40-foot-long granite memorial wall with engraved illustrations that tell the story of the war, including the Tet offensive, the bombing of a village and the fall of Saigon. That sounds quite ambitious, especially when you get into more detail: According to Guthrie, a retired landscape architect, the Vietnam memorial would be a more private side, and that its street side would have sections illustrating American values with iconic American images, such as the Grand Canyon and an American eagle.

Some folks might find it a bit fancy, especially when compared with, say, the nearby Korean War Memorial. Or the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, which is moving because of its simplicity.

We don’t think illustrating the bombing of a village or the fall of Saigon will help the memorial gain public support, however.

It is time Vietnam veterans had a memorial. What they went through over there and, when they came home, was difficult, to say the least. They received none of the homage shown to veterans of earlier wars, and often, they were excoriated.

Whatever we might think of the war, we need to honor those who went. Many had no choice; it was the time of the draft, and unless they had an excuse – or five, like some of our currently notable politicians – they pretty much had to go.

Somebody needs to acknowledge their service.

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