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Jul-25-2009 06:30printcommentsVideo

Traveling Wall and Field of Flags Mini-Documentary (VIDEO)

An exhibit of 1,000 Flags, honoring all who have served, and the traveling version of the Vietnam Wall, made for a memorable event in Albany.

War Memorial, Traveling Vietnam Wall, Albany, Oregon 7-18-09
Inset photo of dog tag by Bonnie King
Other photos & Video by Tim King Salem-News.com

(ALBANY, Ore.) - A spectacular tribute to the nation's military was in Albany last week at Timber Linn Park, which already has an area dedicated in honor of American veterans.

Dog tag of a U.S. Marine, Blake
Magaoay, killed at Fallujah in '04

A miniature but complete version of the Vietnam Wall in Washington D.C. was constructed on the Albany park grounds and thousands made the trip to pay honor to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice while fighting in the Vietnam War.

Accompanying that tribute are panels of dog tags of Americans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

That honor extended to include all veterans, and the top phrase just might have been, "Welcome Home". It sounds good to anyone who has ever been to war.

The event is the brainchild of a WWII Navy veteran named Garner Pool, who says he complained until people listened, and eventually reconstructed the park to honor veterans, specifically from Linn County, Oregon, but also all wars.

Several hundred motorcycles escorted the Wall to the park and local residents put it all together. One of the event's organizers, Tanya Kramer, says everyone that pitched in was either a veteran, or a family member of one.

"It's a big family of really great people," she said.

A local Marine Corps recruiter, Sgt. Charles Bates, told Salem-News.com it was an honor to receive a special medal being issued to Oregon veterans, alongside people who fought in previous wars like Vietnam. Bates has served two tours in Iraq.

Saturday, July 18th, was the biggest day for the event, and it was open 24-hours a day once constructed. A fly-by Saturday afternoon passed in a missing man formation, signifying the loss of an aviator.

It is a sobering reality check, along with the bagpipes and the 21-gun salute, that leaves few eyes dry.

Former Marine Victor Kuhns who served in Vietnam, says it is the best education a child can get. He suggests they take the time to talk to the Veterans who made it home so they can really learn something.

Bill Walker and Clay Winkler, manned the booth dedicated to those who were awarded the Purple Heart in combat. Clay was a prisoner during the Vietnam War for three years. Bill served in the Korean War and in Vietnam.

It was the time men like Chet Hall were serving out careers in military groups like the U.S. Navy. His wife Marlene ended up being his support system when the memories of war in Vietnam became too much to bear.

Marlene says he used to cry alone, and today they only cry together.

As far as what it means to our active military, Jeffrey Leanord of the Oregon National Guard, says "it means everything", adding that he wishes his dad had known such support when he came home from Vietnam.

The Wall and Field of Flags and the additions to Timber Linn Park, are meaningful tributes to the people who have served this nation in uniform, especially those who gave all.

Here is the special 10-minute video:

Video

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Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor.
Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines. Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), the first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several other awards including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website, affiliated with Google News and several other major search engines and news aggregators.
You can send Tim an email at this address: newsroom@salem-news.com




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TATTOO USA November 12, 2009 10:04 am (Pacific time)

Tim,what a great tribute to all vets,keep up the good work you do my friend,and Thank YOU,tim. 1989 LHA-3 deck dept.BM3


John Lawson August 6, 2009 9:41 pm (Pacific time)

Chet Hall is NOT a former Vietnam POW. His name is not on the DOD list of Vietnam POWs at http://www.js.pentagon.mil/dpmo/pmsea/files.htm. The list is complete, all personnel (including civilians) who were captives for ANY length of time (no matter how short) are listed. Mr. Hall should be ashamed of himself.

Semper Fi

Editor: Semper Fi John, FYI Chet Hall does not claim to be a POW in this story, however we are familiar with two other individuals in this story who made false claims and we are working on it, quite sadly I will add.  It is certainly not the story we want to tell but we will. Again, Chet Hall does not claim to be a POW nor do we reference him that way.  The individual you are referencing was Clay Winkler.  Thanks.


John August 4, 2009 12:29 am (Pacific time)

Semper Fi to all who served and are serving.


Bob O'Dowd July 26, 2009 7:18 am (Pacific time)

Tim, this is a great tribute to those who served and made the ultimate sacrifice. For myself, I missed going to Nam. My TDY (temporary additional duty) orders were cut when I was attached to the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing in Iwakuni, Japan in '65 but were cancelled at the last moment. By the time, the 1st MAW (Rear) went forward in September ’66, I had been discharged from the Corps and was attending Temple University. 2nd Lt. Jettie Rivers, Jr., my senior drill instructor and Navy Cross recipient with D/1/9, is on the wall, KIA at Con Thien in ’67. My platoon graduated from Parris Island in ’62 when Marine ground units were not yet deployed to Nam. The first units went ashore in '65. My buddies that stayed in the Corps had one than one tour in Nam. A few were badly wounded. I can still see the faces of the young Marines (18 year olds for most part) on Okinawa going to Nam when I was returning to the states. Oregon is a long way from Washington so a traveling wall may be the only way that many will ever get to see this memorial. It’s nice to know that veterans took the time and energy to put together this very moving memorial. Thanks for the news story.

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