Skip to comments.North County's Vietnam memorial dedicated (CALIF)
Posted on 03/26/2006 6:12:02 PM PST by Dubya
CARLSBAD ---- After giving their lives in the line of duty more than 30 years ago, North San Diego County's fallen Vietnam War veterans have been honored with a large memorial in Carlsbad that was formally dedicated Saturday.
A crowd of about 100 people attended the ceremony for the first memorial specifically for the 124 veterans known to have direct ties to North County. The ceremony was complete with special guest speakers, plus the Army and Navy Academy's color guard and band ---- including a bugler who played taps.
"Sacrifice without remembrance is unconscionable," said retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. David Witwer in his opening remarks to the crowd.
The visually striking, nearly 7-foot-tall granite monument was placed on property donated by the Army and Navy Academy, a private boarding school. The site is on the southwest corner of the school's Maffucci Field on Carlsbad Boulevard. The monument was installed Jan. 31.
"Never Forget" is etched in the California-shaped granite in large letters, followed by the list of 124 names. Of those, 93 have been confirmed dead. The rest were either prisoners of war or missing in action.
Adorned with flowers at its base for the ceremony, the monument is visible to passing pedestrians and vehicle traffic along the busy coast highway.
"This memorial serves as a reminder that the blessings of liberty are not free. There is a price," Neil Nydegger, chairman of the board of the Army and Navy Academy, told the crowd.
Carlsbad High School history teacher Walter "Jack" Frazier, a U.S. Navy Vietnam veteran, came up with the idea for a North County memorial a few years ago and developed it as a project for his students. There have been at least 450 Carlsbad High School students involved in the project since 2003.
"As I look at the memorial, I have so many emotions churning inside, none of the least of them is humility," Frazier said in his speech. "I came home (from Vietnam) with an obligation to these men not to forget them."
Frazier also said that when Vietnam veterans returned home in the 1970s, there were no parades or celebrations to acknowledge their safe return and their service.
For friends and family of the fallen veterans honored by the memorial, Frazier said: "Let them find peace, and let them know we remember their loved ones they lost."
Vietnam veteran James Klinger said he came from his home in San Juan Capistrano to the memorial site in Carlsbad in honor of his former classmate, Gary W. Letson, who died in Vietnam. Both graduated from the Army and Navy Academy in 1963, Klinger said.
Letson was captain of the academy's basketball team for two years, Klinger recalled. He said Letson was about 25 years old when he died.
"I'm here to pay homage to him and the others on this memorial," Klinger added, pointing to Letson's name. "I'm not here for me."
Funding for the monument, which cost about $15,000, came from donations and from grants from the city of Carlsbad and San Diego County.
The monument is the first of the two-phase project. The second part is the development of a plaza with a long, continuous bench amid attractive landscaping and walking paths to surround the monument.
Organizers are accepting donations for the plaza, estimated to cost $80,000. Checks can be made out to North County Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund and mailed to NCVVMF, P.O. Box 4644 Carlsbad, CA 92018.
For more information, contact Frazier at (619) 885-8846 or Lisa Limber at (760) 729-4617.
Contact staff writer Lorell Fleming at (760) 731-5798 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jack Frazier addresses the crowd Saturday at the dedication of the North County Vietnam veterans memorial at the Army and Navy Academy's football field in Carlsbad. Frazier and his Carlsbad High School world history students helped create the memorial.
JAMIE SCOTT LYTLE Staff Photographer
Names of fallen troops in the Vietnam War grace the North County Vietnam veterans memorial, which was dedicated Saturday at the Army and Navy Academy's football field in Carlsbad.
JAMIE SCOTT LYTLE Staff Photographer
Must go to see.
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