Photo | Bruce Quackenbush for the Colorado Freedom Memorial Foundation
Radio show host and Air Force veteran Rick Crandall broadcasted his Memorial Day show in 2000 from the Normandy Cemetery at Omaha Beach to honor the fallen at the site. The message, spanning the Atlantic, sparked a discussion between Crandall and listeners back home in Colorado: How many fallen Coloradans, buried around the world, had visits from home?
“It just sat with me wrong ... nobody had been to see them.
More than 100 flags representing area veterans fly on Memorial Day weekend at the city cemetery in Westmoreland, Kan., thanks to Post 186.
The decades-long tradition of flying one flag for each Westmoreland-area veteran originally used the casket flags, donated by families for the event. The City Fathers began the tradition, but Post 186 adopted it.
What was once a petroleum-contaminated property was cleaned up and is being reused in a way that has both enhanced the environment and enriched the community of Seymour, Wis.
Recreational park space in many downtown areas is limited and does not always meet the needs of the local community.
Photo | Vietnam War Foundation Museum from the Vietnam War Foundation
Craig LaMountain returned from Vietnam, but his brother Betal didn’t. Craig went first, and after his return, Betal was stationed in Danang. He was a naval aviator who went missing. He was never found.
“He wanted to fly from day one. Fate took him, but that’s life,” Craig said.
“I had a welcome back party my cousin attended, and he left the next day for Vietnam,” Craig said.
The community of Trafford, Pa., was founded in 1904 by inventor and entrepreneur George Westinghouse. When the country was thrown into the first World War, the citizens of Trafford answered the call and sent hundreds of their boys off to fight. Community members rallied behind their men and pitched in to provide support for the nation. Most of the men from the Trafford community returned home. A few men did not.
To honor all those who served in the war, a bronze tablet and granite stone were created by the citizens to be installed in Trafford’s community park.
Cape Coral, Fla., claims to have the first monument (not memorial) that honors veterans from both Iraq wars: Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2003-2011, and Gulf Storm 1991.
The town has a penchant for honoring veterans. Four Mile Cove Eco Park, where the monument stands, actually has four others honoring veterans of different wars.
Civil War veteran Eri D. Woodbury's Medal of Honor | Image from Cheshire Historical Society
Since the Medal of Honor was created during the Civil War, less than 4,000 veterans have received the nation's "highest award for valor in action." Two of those recipients, heroes who come so few and far between, hail from Cheshire, Conn.
"It was I suppose a coincidence, but coincidence or not, it's noteworthy," said John White, Navy veteran and Cheshire resident. (White's name may ring a bell, as he lobbied for President George Washington to receive a posthumous Medal of Honor.
What do a shoe cobbler, a car dealer, and an ex-police officer have in common? Being normal occupations, most will assume the answer to be nothing.
However, the small community of Libby, Montana, knows better than to make that assumption. These three men are all military veterans who found themselves united in the pursuit of a single dream. This shared dream led each man on an extraordinary mission to establish a local memorial for military veterans.
In talking with them it becomes apparent that the meaning of “Service to Country” is near and dear to their hearts.
Almost a half-century after his service, John Burnam saw the Military Working Dog Teams National Monument dedicated. He learned about their work firsthand during his second tour in Vietnam, when he served as a scout-dog handler with the Army.
“I knew what it was like to face the enemy but I didn’t know what it was like to take a dog out on patrol,” he said.
Burnam learned to watch their ears, the skin on their backs, listen to their breath, watch if their mouths closed because they'd smelled something ominous.
Guns n Hoses Pipes n Drums of Southwest Florida will honor the 69th anniversary of the iconic raising of the flag on Iwo Jima, by playing Feb. 23 at the Iwo Jima monument in Cape Coral, Fla. The American Legion ceremony will include music, fanfare and a flag ceremony. It will be the third such ceremony Guns n Hoses has participated in.
Many veterans attend, even some who served at Iwo Jima.
“It was great to see them," Legionnaire Chuck Marklin said. "We perform for their pleasure as well as in honor of the monument. ...
The apartment complex for seniors and disabled people where I live, Alpine Manor Apartments in Texas, recently had a large palm tree at the entrance taken down. As the tree has been dead for 10 years, it was a good decision.
However, rather than try to remove the stump, one of the workmen, Paul Garcia, a veteran and fellow Airborne Trooper, carved the stump into a bench and placed a POW/MIA flag on it. I took the photo. Many others have not come home, and all of us need to express our support.
The original idea, hatched in 2001 at Post 341 in Bella Vista, Ark., was simple enough: a granite wall of honor commemorating veterans from all branches of service, from all American wars since 1776, in the style of a similar monument in Mountain Home, Ark.
It would take $700,000 and more than a decade, but this idea would be realized several-fold.
Leonard Eisert’s brother had helped the project in Mountain Home and told Eisert about the veterans’ council they had formed.
Post 16 in Lynchburg, Va., unveiled a Purple Heart Memorial last spring, to honor those veterans wounded or killed in service. The Military Order of the Purple Heart's local chapter donated the $9,000 memorial to the post, former Commander Leslie Baker said.
The post dedicated the memorial, a three-year project, and the Walk of Honor, a path of engraved bricks leading to the monument, in a Veterans Day ceremony.
The memorial greets visitors and members outside the Legion's front entrance and faces those driving by.
Whayland H. Greene, a World War II veteran who earned a Purple Heart and two Bronze Stars, had a dream of building a memorial for those who did not come home. With the help of his wife, Jo Ann, the citizens of Belcher, Louisianna state representatives, veterans and others, his dream came true 60 years after the end of WWII.
The Belcher Veterans Memorial's formal dedication was Aug. 17, 2002.
American Legion posts 15 and 2000 in Loveland, Colo., joined forces in honoring those who served on Dec. 7, 1941.
Today not very many communities do more than lower their flags to half staff to pay tribute and memorialize Dec. 7, 1941, and the event that led us in to World War II. Marilee Rayome wanted to do more and build on a long standing tradition in Loveland of honoring and remembering the day that will live in infamy.
A memorial made after the Vietnam Wall came to Waco more than five years ago was finally lowered in the ground recently. A memorial service was held at American Legion Post 121 in Elm Mott.
Vietnam veteran and event organizer Bill Mahon describes how they came up with the vault idea.
"Folks would leave mementos, pictures, letters, notes, flowers, teddy bears. Each day we would collect them and would put them in this vault that was on site and we had promised that we would bury it with dignity somewhere in the community," said Mahon.
In Stella, Mo., you can't miss the veterans' memorial. Though the population of the village hovers around 150, the town is the home of a $51,000 memorial, Legionnaire and former memorial chairman Charles Dalbom said.
"When you come down the road from anywhere it is a focal point in the town," Dalbom said.
Clovis Ordogne did something his late wife, Judy, would have never believed. He had a mural commissioned on the outside of the American Legion Post 11 in Thibodaux, La., in her honor.
Clovis is an Air Force veteran who, among other jobs, served running supplies to the Germans during Stalin's Berlin Blockade after World War II.
Clovis and Judy met in 1979 at the restaurant where she was working at the time and hit it off. They shared that distinct Louisiana love for Saints football. They went to see some games at the Superdome. They both spoke French. He was a member of the Legion.
Some lives are worth commemorating because of the inspiration they give to future generations. Ed Whitcomb is one of those.
From his dramatic escape out of the Philippines during World War II, to abandoning politics for the thrills of sailing solo around the world, Whitcomb is an explorer with an independence that makes him a truly unconventional and unique Hoosier.
In the twilight of life Ed has settled in the small Ohio River town of Rome, Ind.