Marilyn takes a look at the Vietnam Memorial in St Charles Veteran's park. She captures the essence of Memorial Day and addresses a topic that has personally gave me some emotional ups and down. There isn't a week that goes by that I don't remember those that I left behind and Memorial Day always seems to bring yesterday back to today in vivid color. Enjoy Marilyn's tribute.
As part of my Memorial Day weekend I paid a visit to the Lake Charles Veteran's Park this morning. The Lake Charles Veterans Park represents all Veterans from all foreign wars. The design of the park is a five pointed star with flags representing each branch of the service.
The walkways are made of bricks which can be donated in honor of a veteran through the Veteran's Memorial Park Commission.
There is a new addition to the Veteran's Memorial Park to enjoy and it is a Vietnam Huey helicopter. I had not seen the helicopter in person yet. I remember it was dedicated last year on July 4th as part of Lake Charles Red White Blue and You Celebration.
Veterans Memorial Park in Lake Charles is visible from Interstate 10 and is one of the attractions visitors see as the enter Lake Charles from the Lakeshore Drive curve off Interstate 10 onto Veteran's Memorial Blvd.
The Huey helicopter was acquired for the Lake Charles Veteran's Park due to the joint effort of the Marine Corp League of Southwest Louisiana Detachment 535, Vietnam Veterans of America and Southwest Louisiana Chapter 215 of Vietnam Veterans.
The search for a helicopter to display at Veterans Memorial Park began in 2006 when Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 215, the Marine Corps League, and the Mayor's Armed Forces Commission adopted the project. The search ended in 2008 when a Huey was found in Texas.
All aspects of the helicopter project were done by organizations and individuals volunteering their time, including work done to transport, store and refurbish the helicopter prior to it being displayed at Veterans Memorial Park. Volunteers also produced a helicopter pedestal design and fabrication specifically for the UH-1 Huey and provided the materials for its creation.
The U.S. Army UH -1 Huey helicopter served in combat during the Vietnam War in the mid-1960's with 1st Cavalry and flew in many dangerous missions in Vietnam including the famous battle at la Drang in the Central Highlands of South Vietnam in 1965. The Huey was damaged in battle and eventually sent to Ft. Rucker, Alabama as a training helicopter.
I was touched when one of my friends posted a picture of him with his children in front of the helicopter and I remember thinking to myself, what a wonderful thing to do. Our children don't always get a clear picture of our American history in school these days. Teaching them and visiting national monuments is how we carry on the history and pass stories of our friends and family who served in the military. This helicopter provides a learning experience for our children and is a place of enjoyment for Lake Charles residents throughout the year. We must continue to learn from our past, remember and share American history and our Memorials with our new generation of children.
If you know anything about the Vietnam War Era, you will recognize that the Vietnam war was not a popular war in our American history. Full of controversy our Vietnam veterans were not welcomed back as heroes from previous foreign wars. I grew up in those years of turmoil and unrest of the Vietnam years and witnessed the images on TV every evening. This weekend I will visit my older brother who luckily had a very high draft number in 1968 when he graduated from high school and entered college. My brother was not drafted nor did not serve in Vietnam however in later years he joined the Army and is now a retired Lieutant Colonel. We will spend this weekend remembering and talking about our Father who was an Army Captain and served in WWII and our other family members who served in braches of the military
This is what Memorial Day is about, its about remembrance of those who served. Veteran's Memorial Park in Lake Charles is a monument of remembrance where Lake Charles residents may visit, walk along the lakefront and have a quiet moment of solice. Happy Memorial Day everyone!