Letter from Mayor Jernigan to Peg Molin dated July 11, 1990 read:

“I believe that the park should have a site which recognizes our war veterans because without them we might not have a park at all. The memorial requested by the Vietnam Veterans would not be an indication of support for that conflict, but a recognition of the great sacrifices made by many people and their families in our community.”

Letter from former Governor Swainson to Peg Molin stated:

“If as reported, the Vietnam Veterans are willing to bear the cost of providing a suitable monument to the sacrifice of those personally involved, then we as citizens should honor their request and support their desire to memorialize those efforts.”

“I would hope that the Advisory Commission would work with the Washtenaw Chapter of the Vietnam Veterans in providing a suitable location for such a monument, and certainly Ann Arbor Veterans Memorial Park would be that place.”

Letter From WWII Veteran and Reverend, William Hillegonds:

(This note was attached to the following letter.)

John: I was a little sorry to see you give up the fight for space at Vets’ Park. But I’m sure your committee knows best. Enclosed is a copy of the letter I sent Ingrid Sheldon and Peg Molin. I also talked with Ingrid and plan to talk with Peg. Thanks for all the affirming words. Bill.

August 22, 1990

Councilperson Ingrid Sheldon

Dear Councilperson Sheldon,

I attended yesterday a meeting of the Parks Advisory Commission in the Conference Room of Gallup Park. I attended in order to show my support to the people present who advocate the placing of a Viet Nam War Memorial in Vets’ Park.

First, I did not agree with the conclusion to which the Commission came. But that’s democracy. Matters get decided by 4 to 3 votes even though 10 of 13 Veterans organizations in the county endorsed the idea and the staff report of Parks and Recreation Administration seemed totally insensitive to the real issue involved in the request by the Viet Nam Vets.

Second, I have never before been at a meeting at which the Chair (George Sexton) seemed so preordained not to listen to what members of the Commission or people who were the guests of the Commission were present to say about the matter on the table for discussion. I watched the Chair as the artist’s rendition of the proposed Memorial was unveiled (I had seen it before and studied it carefully and therefore was free to watch people’s reaction to its unveiling.) and I don’t think he gave it the benefit of even the slightest glance. From that moment on it was obvious where the Chair was in his thinking. He had cast his vote even before a vote was called for.

I am writing to say how much I deplore that kind of public hearing. That people disagree in our kind of society is a given. Thank God for that privilege. But I believe the kind of intellectual stubbornness I witnessed at yesterday’s meeting is a threat to the very thing we say is so precious to Americans: the right not only to be listened to but to be listened to in such a way that we are heard.

As a registered Republican and as a resident of the Ward in which you serve as Councilperson, I trust you felt enough of what I felt yesterday to call the matter to your caucus when it next meets.


Bill Hillegonds

(Bill was the lead minister at the First Presbyterian Church of Ann Arbor and a WWII Army D-Day Army Veteran.)

Letter From Mrs. Brown, Mother Of Ann Arbor KIA Charles Brown:

The time has come that I can no longer stand back and say nothing, while a very special group of young men try to get a memorial built honoring the boys of Washtenaw County who died or are still missing in Vietnam.

As I understand it, what the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Committee are asking of the Ann Arbor Parks Advisory Commission is a spot of land in Veterans Memorial Park to build a memorial. They are not asking for money to build with, nor are they asking for the Commission to maintain it. They have only asked for permission to build a memorial in an appropriate place “Veterans Memorial Park.”

The reason it has been refused (to me it is no reason at all) “Veterans Park was dedicated to all Veterans we can’t have special groups putting up memorials or others may want to build.” So be it! If others are interested in working and raising money for a memorial, let there be monuments in Veterans Memorial Park!

I am sure the baseball players and the winter sledders wouldn’t mind sharing some space with memorials dedicated to the people whom have gone to war to fight for our way of life.

I would like to answer some of Mark R. Lindke’s letter which appeared in the Reader’s Viewpoint last week. Mark it was very nice of you to defend your mother’s (Peg Molin) position. I will never be able to enjoy my son defending me again, as he was killed in Vietnam in defense of all of us Americans. He was 20 years old.

You say you are a Veteran of the Vietnam Era, what does that mean exactly? If we were alive between 1959-1975 we are all Veterans of that Era, but it doesn’t mean we were in the service.

You say you were a spectator at the Parks Advisory Commission meeting and was impressed with the dignity, compassion, respect, etc., at that meeting. What I saw was very different from your view. I don’t intend to lump everyone in the same category as the Acting Chairperson, whom was very rude to Mr. Adam Banner when he asked to read a letter from Mayor Jernigan. The Acting Chairperson said in effect “they would deal with the issue as Peg Molin would expect.”

It was announced that only one person from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Committee would be allowed to speak. The meeting was late starting, while Mr. Kinzinger was presenting his case and answering point by point every issue that had been raised by the commission, it seemed to me that the acting chairperson was mentally humming and snapping his fingers; at some time the chair told a long rambling story that if there was a point to it even the teller seemed to have forgotten by the end. It may have been to KILL TIME until the LATE TIE BREAKING VOTER ARRIVED, who then CAST his NO VOTE WITHOUT HEARING the presentation from the Vietnam Veterans Committee. IS THIS WHAT IS CALLED DIGNITY, COMPASSION and RESPECT?

In conclusion, I still do not have a reasonable answer for all the people who have asked me “WHY A PLOT OF GROUND IN VETERANS MEMORIAL PARK HAS BEEN DENIED Charlie Brown and all his fellow brothers” by the Ann Arbor Parks Advisory Commission.

(Signed) Lois W. Brown