The area community came out strong to help us with the dedication ceremony. The following are some of those who so nicely donated their time and work for us. Thank you all.

The Lincoln High School band came out and played patriotic songs.

“Fat” Bob Taylor, former Detroit Red Wing National Anthem singer sang the National Anthem and “God Bless America”.

McNamara Rental provided the large tent for the family members.

Robert Nalli of Nalli Music provided the tremendous sound system.

Executive Limosine of Ann Arbor provided travel for General Westmoreland from the Willow Run airport and back.

Grand Ledge National Guard Helicopter unit provided the four ship flyover that began the ceremony at 1pm.

Buglers came from HQ Army Reserve 70th Div. Training, Livonia

Sakstrup Towing was there in case of vehicle problems.

WAAM radio personality Lucy Ann Lance broadcast on site.

Golf Carts for elderly transport were from Green Oaks Golf Course.

Protestant, Catholic and Jewish Religious leaders blessed the Memorial. Since, Gordon Moore has presided at every event held at the Memorial.

The triangular folded Flag placed at the Memorial during the ceremony was that of Saline’s KIA Russell Michalke. It was donated by his fiancee with permission granted by his parents.

An Indian group blessed the warriors listed on the Memorial with their drum performance.

U of M ROTC Cadet Tim Bowens presented a check for $2,000 at the ceremony to us from a fund raiser they did for us.

Washtenaw County Sheriff Department was present, led by Lt. Jim Fink, in case there were any demonstration issues or such.

75 Flags (3 by 5 foot) covered the area attached to tents and wherever they could be fixed. One for each name on the Memorial.

Nearby was a beautifully organized field of 75 white crosses made by VVA 310 member Jerry Sims. Each cross had a small American Flag next to it, except for three which had a POW MIA flag next to it.

In a well practiced precision manner with crisp movements led by Lyle Avery, VVA 310 members officially raised the Flags for the first time at the Memorial. Their practice and concern was evident.

Near the end of the cermony, parents of those listed on the Memorial who had been with us throughout the Memorial process unveiled it. Eugenia Fuller, Chester and Lois Brown, Della and Walter McIntire, Grace and Dayle McKenzie removed the large black covering. What a wonderful moment that was for all of us. We had achieved our goal and were very proud of the results. That was a most glorious day. We thank all who helped us along the way.

After the ceremony was completed with many photographs taken, the General, our Memorial committee and Township officials had a wonderful lunch and lots of small talk in the Civici Center paid for by Jack McManus.





David Wagener (MIA – Remains Returned)

David’s Air Force plane was shot down in 1966. When the Memorial was planned, as he was one of our local Missing-In-Action, his name was put on one section of the seating area.  After his remains were returned Capt. Wagener's name was etched on the Memorial

Our VVA Chapter 310 annually sends Christmas cards to family members of those on our Memorial. After receiving her 1997 card, Beverly Wagener, David’s wife living in the Seattle, Washington area, contacted us that David’s remains had been identified. He was laid to rest in a National Cemetery in the Seattle area. We then had ‘Remains Returned 1997’ added below his name on that seat section. We also had his name put the Wall portion at the bottom of the list from Ann Arbor.



bevwagener copy

Beverly (above) attended our 1998 Memorial Day observance at our Memorial when we dedicated the above changes to our Memorial. She was impressed with our remembrance observance showed greater care and dignity than she experienced at the Seattle cemetery. She has been a tremendous Friend of our Chapter and Memorial ever since, as she mails a donation or two each year to cover the costs for the flowers at the Memorial.

The Washtenaw County Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Inc. was incorporated in 1998.   This new organization was a not-for-profit 501 (C)(3) organization. The Board of Directors were from our VVA chapter 310 and family members of those listed on the Memorial. We will direct the spending of these funds to best care for this Memorial on into the future.

My Speech at the Dedication

jkmessageaWhat a glorious day. We are very happy to see the large number of family members here today. I know some of you traveled from a long distance, from as far away as California, Arizona, Washington, North Carolina, Nevada, etc. It is great to have you all here.

Two years ago our group of Vietnam Veterans began meeting and decided on this as our dream. One year ago we had our ground breaking on this site. And today we are here to dedicate the Washtenaw County Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

It is not a statement for or against the Vietnam War. It is rather a place for all the people of our communities to come and pay honor and tribute to all Vietnam Veterans, men and women, from Washtenaw County, and especially the 72 men who made the supreme sacrifice for our country and the 3 still Missing-In-Action.

This is a Veterans Memorial – not a war Memorial. It is a place where we can come to reflect on our own memories and continue the healing process; a place where family members and friends can come to honor the memories of their loved ones; a place where school children in the future can come and see the reality of history and learn from it. It is our hope that the sacrifices of these men, and their families, will never be forgotten. That is why, we are all gathered here today.

This Memorial was made possible through the dedication, loving concern and generosity of the people from all the communities of Washtenaw County and the surrounding area.

We are proud of this fact … No state or local taxbased funds were used for this project. You, the people of Washtenaw County built this Memorial.

My committee and all Vietnam Veterans, would like to thank all of the people, businesses, veterans, civic and labor organizations, who donated money, time, material, ideas, a shoulder to lean on, and an ear to listen. What you see here today would not have been possible without your care and concern. We thank the families who lost a loved one for understanding and helping us. It’s been an honor and a privilege to know you all.

Thank you to the young boy, who picked up a quarter at the Chelsea Fair near our display, and asked, if he could put it in our donation jug. Then as he walked away juggling his treasure of four empty pop cans, he turned and came back to us, and asked if we would cash them in and donate the forty cents to the Memorial.

Thank you to the Officers and Trustees of Ypsilanti Township: Wesley Prater, Ethel Howard, Ruth Ann Jamnick, Brenda Stumbo, Karen Roe, J.D. Hall and David Ostrowski, who gave this Memorial this honored place and a true “Welcome Home.” And thank to the other Township people, Chuck, Ted, Doug, Joe and many others.

Thank you to the volunteer laborers who did the construction work. Thank you to the many people who helped us with our fundraising efforts. It was a lot of work and many long hours, but we had fun.

Thank you, General Westmoreland for being a part of our Dedication ceremony. To all of you Vietnam Veterans – you, who know why we are here today. Welcome Home. Thank you to the many people who wrote us letters of support when we needed them. Thank you to the media people who gave us print and air time to spread the word about thie Memorial throughout the county. This list could go on forever. Thank you all for making this dream a reality. And most of all – Thank you to our families.

Family, we will be home tonight.

God Bless each and every one of you.

Thank you from all of us.

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