Regional News

Oregon Vietnam War Memorial Close To Reality

SALEM, OR -- If everything goes according to plan, a new Vietnam War Memorial will be erected at the Oregon State Capitol next year. A new million dollar state grant brings the plan closer to reality. 

"The granite columns are in Oregon now [pictured below]; they’re all paid for," Vietnam War Memorial Fund President Steve Bates tells KBND News, "The granite columns actually will make up the wall, which bears the names of the Oregonians who died in Vietnam." He says there will be around 800 names listed, "Officially, the Department of Defense has identified 710 Oregonians who died in Vietnam. But we know that there were others who were actually born in Oregon or they went to high school here in Oregon, and of course we’re going to list their names because we consider them to be Oregonians as well."

Bates says the 48 granite columns will stand independently [rendering above], "But they will actually look like a wall from a distance. And when you approach the columns, then you see that the wall is actually fractured and that’s demonstrative of the times of the Vietnam War - the social unrest that we experienced." It's in stark contrast to the solid wall of the World War Two memorial, just to the north, "It was significant that during World War II, our country was solidified and united behind the war effort. The shattered wall or the broken wall for the Vietnam Memorial, demonstrates the difference between the two wars."

Earlier this year, public feedback was gathered to finalize the design of interpretive panels for the site. Those await final approval by the State Parks Department. Bates says there is also more fundraising to do. He estimates they need about a million dollars more to complete the project. But he’s optimistic they’ll be able to break ground early next year. 

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