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Welcome Home
Written October 31, 2010

 
In Washington, D.C., a national memorial was dedicated in 1982.  On a black granite wall are engraved the names of 58,267 Americans who never came back from the Vietnam War.

In Pittsburgh, there is another Vietnam Veterans Monument, dedicated five years later.  Its construction was spearheaded by T. J. McGarvey, shown here.

Like the wall in the nation's capital, the Pittsburgh structure also memorializes those who died in the 1959-1975 conflict.  But in addition, it remembers those who did return home from the war to be reunited with their families.

 

I took the photos below in the fall of 2010.

 

The monument is situated on the north shore of the Allegheny River.

Its five-sided canopy was designed by John Robert Middleton and Ed Dumont, with consulting from Ron Bennett.

The shape is that of “a hibiscus flower pod, an Asiatic symbol of rebirth and regeneration, symbolizing the warrior’s return to peace to begin the journey of healing the scars of war.”

The ceiling of the canopy originally contained wind chimes, offering prayers for the dead each time they rang.

Under the canopy are five life-size statues by sculptor George Danhires.

They depict “the welcome home that veterans have historically treasured.” 

On the floor, “the inscription, in Vietnamese and English, reflects the veterans’ desire for peace — from war and within themselves.”

XIN BAN
BÌNH AN CHO
CHÚNG TÔI
GRANT US
PEACE

And on a wall is a poem by the president of the Pittsburgh-Allegheny County Vietnam Veterans Monument Committee, T. J. McGarvey.

 

 

 

 

Welcome Home

Welcome home to proud men and women

 

We begin now to fulfill promises

    To remember the past

    To look to the future

We begin now to complete the final process

    Not to make political statements

    Not to offer explanations

    Not to debate realities

Monuments are erected so that the future

    might remember the past

Warriors die and live and die

    Let the Historians answer the political questions

Those who served —
    served

Those who gave all —
    live in our hearts

Those who are left —
    continue to give

As long as we remember —

  There is still some love left.

 

TBT

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