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The following is an excerpt from the program created for the day of dedication of the Vietnam Memorial monument. Prepared and read by Holyoker Major William Lloyd. Vietnam Veteran - United States Air Force - Retired - Over 300 Combat missions in Vietnam - 13 Air Medals and Two Distinguished Flying Crosses.

 

Facing the monument on the right wing are the three fighting men representing a Caucasian soldier, a Black soldier and a Hispanic soldier. This is a facsimile of the well known bronze sculpture depicting three  men in combat which is overlooking the "Wall" in Washington,D.C. The words above the seen "We Stand Free Because They Fought" should be on every veterans memorial throughout this country. If we have only sentimental inscriptions such as "To the men and women who served - the words duty, honor valor etc, etc no one will see the significance of their sacrifice. You may say - particularly the young people - "Our country, our homeland or shorelines were never threatened during the Vietnam War - We were never in danger here." Think about it though -The fact is no foreign  enemy has ever set foot on American soil - During World war I during World War II, the Korean Conflict or the Vietnam War. It's because young men and women like the three depicted here that this has never happened. "We Do Stand Free Because They Fought".

On the Left Wing there is a nurse. More than 10,000 women served in Vietnam yet their contributions remain unnoticed by a majority of the American public who do not realize that women although not combat troops witnessed firsthand the horrors of conflict and made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. The nurse depicted here is a facsimile of the statue yet to be erected in Washington. A composite of the ideals for which all women performed their duty to aid, to heal, to insure the survival of others.

Diane Carlson Evans who is behind the project to raise money for the statue served as an Army Nurse in Vung Tau and Pleiku two well known places to a Vietnam veteran. She wrote this poem which says it all:

I don't go off to war, so they say - I'm a woman Who then has worn my boots? And whose memories are these of the youths suffering? Of blood and burns, of their tears and their cries? I'm a woman and I've tasted man's war - our war. And he knows that I love him no greater way than to share in his life or his death. What are the rules? Man or woman, we are prey to suffer and survive together. Please don't forget me. I've been through war's hell and if you will listen, I've a story to tell of those chosen to sacrifice for us all.

The Chaplain represents all denominations and is shown in the scene giving his blessing. He was there when needed most - sometimes it was back at base camp - sometimes it was right were the action was with a critically injured soldier or a dying soldier. The average age of the combat soldier in Vietnam was between 18 and 19 yrs old. As in all conflicts the chaplain provided a lot of listening, consoling, advising, comforting and spiritual guidance. But most of all the Chaplain was someone who would listen. In reality he is the unsung hero of all conflicts and justly belongs 0n this monument along with those he has served.

The third person on the left wing is the bugler and my _personal favorite because he represents so much. This is a true story written by Jim Cox for the American Legion Magazine:
Jim was walking down Connecticut Avenue to the "Wall" in Washington, DC when he came across a fellow in a wheel chair wearing a black beret, down winter jacket, jeans and cowboy boots. Let's call him P.J. - he too was going to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Another veteran like P.J. in a wheel chair yelled over to P.J. "How you doing Buddy" - P.J. answered "As best I can".  Jim offered to push P.J. up to the directory which lists the names of-the more than 58,000 Vietnam war dead .P.J. took a long time looking through the directory which is about the size of the Boston area telephone book. He must have spent 15 minutes looking for his friend's name and the line of visitors behind him waiting to use the book kept growing. But no one said a word! No one was going to walk up to a Vietnam Veteran sitting in a wheel chair and say "Hey Buddy-Speed it up!"

When P.J. found his friend's name Jim pushed him down the narrow path paralleling the seemingly endless line of glistening black marble slabs. He said "Yeah, I see it now" and said "Thanks" to Jim Cox. Jim went ·looking for his cousin's name, had just found it and was about to photograph it when he saw the glint of gold reflecting in the black marble. P.J. had brought with him as his only baggage from Florida an old worn looking bugle. He put the instrument to his lips and slowly began playing "TAPS". Jim had heard "TAPS" many times in the service. What "TAPS" meant to him was the end of _the military day - that it was time to sleep. He heard "TAPS" played in a veteran's cemetery when his father was buried. But this was different! ,It was like Montgomery Clift playing the role of Prewitt in "From Here to Eternity" . Playing "TAPS" for his dead friend Maggio. But Prewwitt had been an Army Bugler and master of the instrument. P.J. wasn't a master of the bugle. Some of the notes were off key and others stumbled and fell short. From a musical standpoint it was the worst rendition of "TAPS" Jim had ever heard. But for the first time he really "Felt" the music. The hundreds of visitors at the Memorial felt it too. Everyone stopped. It got ghostly quiet except for the sound 'of the solitary bugle. For a few brief moments everyone listened to the man sitting in the wheel chair playing his song. Jim didn't know why or for whom P.J. was playing "TAPS". Maybe for his friend or for his buddies he left behind in Vietnam or for those who made it through that hellhole and got home safely. Maybe he was playing just for himself. Maybe he was declaring that his own war was over.

Jim didn't know his motive then or even now. He knew he would never ask him. It had been P.J.'s was and this was P.J.'s special moment not Jim's. After the last note sounded, P.J. rested his bugle on his lap. The crowd started moving again. It was though everyone had been given permission to breath once again. The war had been put back into the past. Life had resumed! Leaving the Memorial Jim and his friends signed the POW and MIA petitions. That other veteran in the wheelchair called out-again to P.J. "Take care of yourself Buddy". P.J. just said "I'll do the best I can."

To me the bugler on the monument is a tribute to fallen friends and to .the Vietnam veterans who stood vigil at the Washington Monument and waited for the recognition their fallen buddies deserved. And to the Vietnam veterans of Holyoke who have finally received recognition. The words above the scene say "TAPS" for a Buddy" -The names of the 9 fallen friends are etched on top of the two wings.

The center die has an eternal flame on the front with the insignia of the 5 branches of the service and the words "VIETNAM -1959 to 1975". We in Holyoke may have one of the few Vietnam Memorials that recognize the fact that lives were lost well before the recognized Federal Government dates of Aug5,1964 to May 7,1975.You will see monuments around here in this area which have the dates 1964 to 1975. Not so-the first casualty ,the first serviceman lost his life in July,1959 and there were more in 1960,1961,1962 and 1963. The last casualty was May of 1975.

The inscription in the book on top of the center die reads:

With Sincere appreciation to the men of Holyoke who gave their lives in-the Republic of Vietnam. To the men and women called upon to serve during an era of discord and turmoil and did so with great personal strength and courage. To those who 'have not returned and may never return we will never close the book on you.

Date of Installation: May 26, 1986

 

Organization Responsible for Installation:

 

Location:

The Vietnam War Monument is located within Veterans Park in the City of Holyoke, Massachusetts.

Lady Liberty

The Soldiers Monument "Female Liberty" was formally dedicated on July 4, 1876. The monument, designed by H.G. Ellicott of Virginia, is a memorial to the 55 citizens from Holyoke who died during the Civil War. The monument resides in Veterans Park that is located near the center of Holyoke. Standing above the granite base is the figure of Lady Liberty holding both a shield and a wreath. The front Inscription reads: In Memory of Our Volunteers Who Died For The Union 1861-1865. The granite base is adorned with four bronze relief plaques. These plaques are the highlight of the monument. The monument was provided by the city of Holyoke at a cost of $10,000. Its dedication was July, 4th, 1876.

Date of Installation:

July 4, 1876

Organization Responsible for Installation:

city of Holyoke Massachusetts

Memorial War Era(s):

Other

Location:

The Civil War Monument is located within Veterans Park in the City of Holyoke, Massachusetts. Monument GPS Coordinates: N 42012.502' W 072036.503'

(2020, December 29 ). Lady Liberty, Holyoke, Massachusetts. American Legion. https://www.legion.org/memorials/251424/lady-liberty-holyoke-massachusetts

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