Westchester County, NY Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Note: The following information was provided by Mr. Howard Berg, and has been transcribed from his notes. Mr. Berg also forwarded a collection of reprints on articles from local newpapers and other information.

The pictures at the end of the background information were also provided by Mr. Berg.

The basic story from the news articles 1986-1987:

About 1984 Bedford, N.Y. policeman and Jaycees member Richard Dwyer suggested a memorial to the Vietnam Veterans. The Jaycees and the Westchester-Putnam chapter of the Vietnam Veterans commissioned local artist Julia Cohen (now Balk) to design the sculpture and started a fund raising effort to pay for it.

The Westchester County Executive Andrew O'Rourke approved the siting of the memorial on the newly acquired 207 acre estate of William and Mildred Lasdon. The sculpture design and casting in bronze was to take a year (during that time Julia Cohen-Balk became pregnant - due to deliver on the day of the dedication). The casting, done in Bridgeport, Conn., was trucked to near the site and lifted by a Sikorsky Sky Crane flown by the 169 Aviation Regiment of the Connecticut National Guard on Tuesday October 12, 1987.

The dedication was on the following Sunday headed by General William Westmoreland. Several hundred veterans and their families, local politicians, and other dignitaries were there along with the question "Where are the Missing in Action?"

The real story is with the statues, obelisk, the walkway, the siting, the grounds, the names, and the special dedication to the nurses in Vietnam. The statues are just slightly larger than life - the two soldiers, one black carrying his wounded buddy to help. The nurse, in fatigues, is standing just out of reach. The 3,000 pound soldiers are standing on the ground a long stainless steel rod driven into the bedrock granite: The nurse at 1,500 pounds likewise anchored. Very few statues are mounted this way - natural, realistic. Around the bedrock is native grasses similar to buffalo grass.

Some say the site is reminicient of the Central Highlands. Near the nurse is a small polished stone with the names of the eight nurses who lost their lives in the war. The oeblisk, black Italian marble (same as the WALL), has 215 names of Westchester residents that lost their lives. To get to the site you must walk from the clearing on the narrow path thru the woods up an easy hill. As you walk you may reflect that each of your two steps is about the length of one person, about six feet, one coffin length - 215 coffins lined up to the Memorial. Once you get to the Memorial you come to 5,800 cobble stones, hand cut from New Hampshire granite, that lead you around the obelisk, the flag MIA and Stars & Strips, the statues, each stone the count of ten dead. Yet, with the emphasis on the dead and the sacrifice they gave, this site is a beautiful, peaceful, and life fulfilling. The view is spectacular, the woods the spectrum of life, the wildlife mostly hidden but sometimes noisy.

The Memorial in the Fall

A view of the Memorial from the side

A close up of two of the figures

A view from a distance

The nurse reaches for the wounded soldier

Marker honoring our fallen nurses

Angel of mercy

More pictures will be added within the next few weeks.