Monday, October 26, 2015

With An Old Lady Saluting Arlington's New Veterans Park Vietnam War Memorial

The other person besides myself who reads this blog is likely looking at that tidy row of outhouses and thinking I must have visited one of Fort Worth's many outhouse infested parks today.

Well, that person would be wrong.

The tidy row of outhouses you see here is a temporary installation in Veterans Park in Arlington.

Arlington is a town whose parks have few outhouses, unless one counts the amazing number of outhouses which dot the parking lots surrounding Arlington's ballparks, as in the place the Texas Rangers play baseball and the crashed spaceship in which the Dallas Cowboys try to play football.

I believe it likely that this tidy row of outhouses was installed in Veterans Park for the use of the crowd which attended the dedication ceremony for the new Veterans Park Vietnam War Memorial.

Let's take a look at the new Veterans Park Vietnam War Memorial.

As I hiked west, up a brown grassy knoll, towards the new memorial, I saw what appeared to be a white-haired little ol' lady saluting something. What is she saluting, I wondered? We will find out.

As I walked towards the saluting senior, and stepped onto the memorial area, the first thing I came upon was what appeared to be a large gold Buddhist urn, filled with coarse sand in which many spent stick of incense were stuck. At the center of the memorial there is a statue of two soldiers. The soldier on the left appears to be Vietnamese, fighting next to an American soldier. The red, white and blue wreath on the left paid tribute to the American soldiers. I assume the yellow and red wreath on the right paid tribute to the Vietnamese soldiers. But I could not read what that wreath was conveying because I am unable to read Vietnamese.

After looking at the wreaths I looked left to see what it was the white-haired senior had been saluting.

A long message on a shiny slab of polished marble or granite or some such polishable stone, of which my photo only shows about half of the message. At the top, in capital letters, "THEY SACRIFICED SO OTHERS COULD LIVE".

The first paragraph, being saluted, "Vietnam was for so many years engulfed in the fires and destruction of  war. More than 2 million soldiers in the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces, and more than 1,000,000 soldiers in the Armed Forces of the United States of America and Allied Nations fought valiantly and selflessly side by side for South Vietnam. Countless soldiers suffered injuries and became disabled. More than 300,000 South Vietnamese soldiers and more  than 58,000 American soldiers gave the ultimate sacrifice, dying so the people of South Vietnam could live. They died, but their heroic spirits will never die. They were gone, but they are not forgotten."

I think I will not touch the irony in the sentiment expressed above and just leave it alone.

Above and below is a look at the American and South Vietnamese soldiers, fighting side by side. I believe the yellow and red flag, above, in the middle between the American flag and the state flag of Texas, was the South Vietnam flag, back when there was still a South Vietnam.

I was very impressed by Arlington's new Vietnam War Memorial. On one of the shiny slabs of stone we learn who donated the funds to build this memorial. Many of the donors were Vietnamese Americans, some of whom I assume were born in America, some of whom I assume were among those who escaped to America during the final sad chapter of that sad war.

Arlington has a large Vietnamese American community, who have made quite an impact on Arlington in many ways. A positive impact, working hard to make it in their new land, opening restaurants, grocery stores and other businesses.

The last time I had to renew my driver's license, back in August of 2012, I waited in line for hours behind a funny Vietnamese lady. She was one of the Boat People who made it to America back in 1974. She was very young when she left Vietnam, leaving her mom behind. She has made it back twice to Vietnam to visit her mom and other relatives. And her mom has visited once in America.

It works out best for America when we welcome new people, no matter how they get here, with open arms, not demonizing them as illegal aliens. Or so it seems to me.

Another thing. Arlington's new Vietnam Memorial was built very quickly. It seems like only a month ago, or so, I saw the foundation work underway. Clearly no unqualified son of a local congresswoman was in charge of getting this project finished.....

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