"North Carolina Vietnam Veterans Memorial"

By Doug Maston

As a Vietnam veteran (1966-1967 - Nakorn Ratchisima, Thailand), I am gratified to see the memories of those who did not come home preserved. I would like to contribute the following to the Vietnam Veterans Home Page for its "Memorial" section.
The North Carolina Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated on Memorial Day, May 27th, 1991. On its brick walls are the names of the 1,624 North Carolinians who gave their lives for their country during the Vietnam War.

The Memorial was built with private funds on a site donated by the North Carolina State Department of Transportation. It is located approximately 10 miles from Lexington and 30 miles south of Greensboro, situated in a rest stop on the Interstate 40/85 Highway.

I was fortunate to be at the dedication ceremony. It was a cloudy overcast day that threatened to rain and spoil the ceremony.

Speeches were given by those who had organized and coordinated the fund raising, building, and dedication. Speaking also was Howard Coble (R-NC, U.S. House), as well as then Lt. Governor James Gardner, along with other dignitaries from around the state.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, all Vietnam veterans in the audience were asked to come down to the front of the dais and be recognized.

Of course, at that particular moment God showed he has a sense of humor. It began pouring rain as hard as it could. It was cold and miserable; but someone said, "Hey guys, they brought in a monsoon for us."

Somehow, it seemed more fitting than any other tribute to those who had suffered through the real monsoons...and fallen in battle.

The crowd began applauding us, and I felt very uncomfortable. I would have enjoyed the applause, if only the forgotten vets of Korea, Grenada, etc., could have been remembered, also.

Thanks for listening.

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