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Archive for Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Vietnam memorial plan criticized by veterans

September 13, 2006

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— A proposal to open a Vietnam War monument here honoring both U.S. and South Vietnamese soldiers has drawn protests from a group of American veterans.

"We're not opposed to them having a memorial," said Mike "Doc" Harter, a Vietnam War veteran. "We're just opposed to them placing it in Veterans Park. The park was built by American veterans for American veterans."

South Vietnamese soldiers are honored in the park with a flag already flying there, he said.

Preliminary plans for the Vietnam War memorial were approved last month by the Wichita Park Board at the request of the Vietnamese Community Assn., which represents about 8,000 Vietnamese in Wichita. The issue ultimately will be decided by the Wichita City Council.

The park includes memorials for Americans who fought in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Monuments likely will be built in the future for veterans of the wars in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan.

Veterans worry other former allies would want memorials in the park, Harter said. "If we were to allow other military organizations outside of the United States, we'd run out of room for our own memorials," he said.

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