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War Memorial

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I have yet to see anything in the LJW about the proposed Vietnam War Memorial in Wichita that some Vietnamese Americans want to put up. A single bronze statue in honor of those men from both the American and South Vietnamese armed forces. Apparently there is an outcry from veterans locally who say the one Memorial Park is for Americans only. A compromise was reached and it may be put on some city owned land near by but not in the park. The soldiers they wish to honor have no country anymore but the one here. Is this right? These folks are citizens that want to honor this country and their fellow former countrymen that died. Is that so wrong? Sounds rather xenophobic to me. What say you?

Comments

RoeDapple 4 years, 8 months ago

I thoroughly enjoy eating at the Vietnamese food restaurant downtown.(Lord, did I just admit I DO go downtown at times?) Although I lost friends and classmates to the war in Vietnam, I have no animosity towards the wonderful people who own and operate that business.They came here to escape the fear and violence that claimed my friends and their own friends and relatives.

The Statue of Liberty was a gift from France. Did we tear it down when we could not even say "french fries" a few years ago? No, we look at it as a symbol of everything that makes this country what it is.

Going back a little over 200 years, some of my ancestors were brought from Europe and dumped on the Louisiana and Georgia shores, criminals and beggars in their country of origin, tossed like so much garbage gleaned from the streets.

We are a nation mixed, every nationality, race, religion. Home of many of the wealthiest people on earth, and some of the poorest. As diverse as life in the ocean yet as bigoted and elitist as royalty during a plague. Who am I, or anyone else to say my neighbor, my brother, my fellow countryman is not as deserving for his contribution to the history of any event, shared or not.

My own father fought the Japanese in the Philippines in WWII. One of the few things he ever said about the enemy he fought for 3 years,"It was terrible what we did to each other over there." Even though he had seen soldiers die on both sides in ways we who haven't could not understand, he still acknowledged their humanity, their pride, their need to survive and go back to homes and family. I'm not so sure I could have done the same. If these men and women fought and died alongside the men and women we sent to their country to fight for them, then they deserve to be recognized here for having done so. We are no longer living in the Alabama or Arkansas of the 1950's. Treating these veterans as less than human pushes the clock back, reminding us of where we have been, not where we need to go

Build it. Build it in the Veterans park where it belongs. Someday our ancestors will look back and say,"They did it right."

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Multidisciplinary 4 years, 8 months ago

I've had some contact with several men who served over there. Let me say, this was their event. It would be nice if this was some flower show that we could say, you all just need to be friends and get over it. But it wasn't a flower show where someone didn't win. Those men were under 24 hour hell for a long long time that we can't imagine and it's burned into their core so each is entitled to whatever lasting opinion they came out of it with, even if it conflicts with another man's post war opinion.

An example. My brother in law. He never spoke of the war only saying, "I've seen things you never want to hear about". And you knew that was the end of any discussion. Very intelligent man from the panhandle of Oklahoma. Best natured man I'd ever want to meet. Kind to everyone, helped anyone at the drop of a hat. Total strangers, he'd go out of his way to help them.

We were walking along at a fair, when up ahead, where I couldn't even see in the shadows, he saw something that made him stop dead in his tracks. He visibly bristled, his arms involuntarily struck out to the sides to protect the lot of us, his wife and children and the few of us other family walking alongside, holding us back. He then realized what he had done that and let his arms down, but he still had his steel blue eyes locked on the figure. I asked him what he saw. He said, "Up there. A (name a can't type because of LJW censor) You can tell by the way he's sitting..on his heels." I asked him if he meant North V. No, he said not likely but it didn't matter which side, he didn't want any of them here, and went one for a few minutes about all the reasons why, etc. It was a very deep seated issue for this man, and I can see why for some, this would just be a very sore subject.

I know a man in a Marine unit that is referred to as themselves as 'The Killers" that I suspect will be protesting this. I can't see them liking this at all from what he talked about.

On the other hand, I know a man who would say "Sure, and let's put one up for all the Asian prostitutes as well because they did more for American GI moral and helped the men survive the war. In fact, we probably couldn't have done it without them."

Side note, Thanks to the group who found LT Scott Speicher's remains! Tears, he's gotten so many. I'm happy to shed a few more for this.

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Ronda Miller 4 years, 8 months ago

Interesting blog topic, Autie. As usual pye says it all and says it so well and in such an informed manner that I scarcely have anything to add.

I agree that different people because of differing life experiences heal differently. Some people don't heal in this lifetime and others seem to rather quickly. I think base personality traits, religion, values, support, therapy, life experiences, etc. all influence this. I do agree that the last thing we would want to do is to somehow add insult to injury for some of our beloved brothers and sisters, fathers, uncles, mothers, aunts, etc. who may still have not completely healed from their losses, or experiences.

Perhaps something of this order will shed light on thoughts, emotions, actions kept under lock and key for too long - perhaps it will drive them further into the night and their solitude of pain.

I wish them all well, and I hope they manage to live out the rest of their lives with respect for themselves and their fellow humans who were "only following orders".

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Pywacket 4 years, 8 months ago

With the war having been over for several decades, it would seem that this would be a healing opportunity.

That said, I realize that US soldiers and citizens who suffered, lost loved ones, and otherwise were deeply personally affected by that war may consider it too soon, even now, to entertain ideas about a blended memorial. Shoot--opinions still run very high about proper ways in which to memorialize WWII and Korea.

I remember a documentary a few years ago about some aged US and Japanese Pearl Harbor veterans meeting on site and discussing that long-ago horror. Those who participated seemed relieved to finally be face to face with their former enemies, in the very place of the infamous attack, and to find that animosity had melted away. All that was left was the humanity of several old gentlemen who had, in good faith, simply been doing their duty to their own countries. It was an overwhelming moment of catharsis for the men, and very moving for the viewer.

The veterans shook hands, shared stories of their own actions that day, embraced, and tears rolled down the cheeks of many. It seemed to afford closure to those long-ago foes and put things into perspective. After all, these were not the politicians and generals who had run the show. They were mere boys, most of them, too young to even comprehend the monstrosity of war. In their meeting so long after the fact, they seemed to finally forgive each other for--essentially--having been young, patriotic, impressionable, and loyal, by mere chance of birth, to one or the other country.

Some day, we may see vets from either side of the Vietnam conflict similarly sharing a meeting of the minds. The Wichita plan sounds like a step in the right direction. Whatever the upshot, I hope they will think it through very carefully, so as to minimize any pain such a memorial might cause for anyone who suffered losses in the war. And I hope those survivors and the families of those who didn't come back will try to give the idea a chance. They may come to warm up to it once it is in place.

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