Monday was a solemn day of remembrance and thanksgiving for all those who have served our country and made the ultimate sacrifice. After an aerial photo shoot in Leesburg, VA I made a point of stopping on my way through DC to visit the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial. I’ve done this literally a few hundred times, the first of which was the day of dedication back in 1982. Visits there have always been emotional to me. I think that it was somewhere around my 100th visit that I managed not to break down in tears for those lost in that politically-charged war.
Yesterday was a little different. I found a great parking space on 22nd Street NW, just off Constitution Ave and directly opposite the memorial. The next difference was that I approached the VVM from the West end, where all of my previous visits were approached from the East. The next difference was the signage promoting the new Mobile App (VVMF Mobile Tour, for iPhone or Android). This is a wonderful app that eliminates the need to page through the well-used paper directories found around the Memorial. It provides not only the panel and line number locatoin of their name, but also a wealth of information about the deceased veteran.
I started by looking up my old 4th Regimental Commander, Bill Ericson ’68 (Panel 21W, Line124), followed by Firsties from A4 who I knew well, Jack Kelly ’67 (Panel 20W, Line 44) and Frank Hill ’67 (Panel 20W, Line 91). On the app and with links to a partner website (vvmf.org) I was able to review many photos of the all too brief lives of these heroes, including an image of the “Strict, Tough, Military, Proud” patch Bill Ericson created for the 4th Regiment. I hadn’t seen that in over 53 years!! It was again emotional, and it got more so as I looked up 1970’s four (4) classmates who died in Vietnam. Once again, they were:
- Robert N Brown (Panel 2W, Line 44)
- Howard M Steinfeld (Panel 2W, Line 65
- Richard A Green (Panel 2W, Line 83)
- John M Minor (Panel 2W, Line 116)
Of course I took plenty of photos, the best of which I will share with you momentarily on my Smugmug site. I shot images with the names of Brown, Steinfeld, Green and Minor. Then it occurred to me to get rubbings of their names. And so I found a willing volunteer who rubbed all four of them for me. I have created a mini-tribute to each of them that you find on Smugmug.
It was another emotional visit, totaling almost 2 hours. I left feeling good about the time I spent with the heroes, and can only hope that I have captured images anywhere near as good as my shooting buddy, Nick Sebastian. Well done again, Nick, as always.
May the Heroes Rest in Peace.
With My Love to All,