The following thoughts and ideas were used by Jerry for the inspiration behind the memorial’s design. The Vietnam Monument had to be different from other memorials. The Vietnam War was different. It was different in the fact there was no American war prior to, or after Vietnam, where the returning warrior was scorned and shunned by their homeland.
The memorial is an effort to right that wrong, to deliver the message to our veterans who proudly served, that their sacrifices were deeply and forever appreciated. The monument welcomes home all veterans who served during the War between 1961 and 1975, regardless of where stationed.
The womb shaped front of the memorial symbolizes a final resting place of respect, honor, and gratitude for our veterans. The remaining surfaces reflect abrupt changes, truncated edges and unpredictable planes.
They echo the mood and environment of the nation at the time – one of political and social unrest. Clashing cultures and core values collided, sometimes overwhelming the returning veterans with a relentless bombardment of rejection and feeling of worthlessness. Finally the memorial was designed to be viewed 360 degrees. As one foxhole buddy says to another, “I got your back!”
The Vietnam Memorial Monument will join other sponsored memorials watching over the 6000 veterans and their spouses interred at the cemetery since its dedication in 2009. The dedication ceremony will be conducted at the Jacksonville National Cemetery March 28, 2015 at 10am. This date is also significant in that it also recognizes the 50th Commemoration Anniversary time period of major United Stated involvement in the Vietnam War.