I’ve been on vacation, visiting the folks back in Colorado. One of my rest stops during the 18 hour drive was off of I-70 in Fruita, where there is a Vietnam memorial. I took a few pictures, including the one above of a mother and father welcoming home their son, returning from his tour.
As I was driving off, I looked over and then gently slammed on the brakes…
I had glanced over at the Memorial site for one last look and noticed a little girl hugging the statue of the young, returning vet. I got choked up. I reached over for my camera, but she had already moved on and was now hugging the parents. I did capture that:
It made me emotional and brought tears to my eyes…even though it was only cold statues she was giving the warmth of her hugs to.
The statues were unveiled in 2006 on Veterans Day. More about the statues at Western Slope Vietnam War Memorial Park:
On July 4th, 2003 Vietnam veterans got a big “welcome home” in the Grand Valley. The man responsible for that welcome home wants to make the gesture permanent. Last week, Jim Doody, founder of the Western Slope Vietnam War Memorial Park, walked the grounds in Fruita with sculptor Richard Arnold of Telluride.
“The way I envision it, is we’ll have a mother and father welcoming home their service person returning home from a tour of duty,” Doody said. He was talking about a bronze sculpture that Arnold, a Vietnam veteran, has agreed to create for the park. Doody, Arnold, and memorial park board member Wayne Telford discussed what a soldier might be carrying and how the parents might look upon their child returning home. Exactly how it turns out will be up to Arnold, the sculptor. But Arnold has strict marching orders on the message he’s suppose to be delivering. “It will represent the welcome home many veterans were denied thirty years ago,” Doody said. The new sculpture will sit right next to the Huey helicopter memorial that was unveiled two summers ago. That project was created over a five-year time frame through community donations. A Huey helicopter, which rests atop a 15 foot steel brace, was hauled in from Little Rock, Ark. It sits atop a 60-foot by 40-foot platform. The walls of that platform are lined with black granite panels etched with the names of Vietnam veterans.
Doody came up with the idea for the memorial almost 7 years ago. He wanted to do it in honor of all veterans, most importantly, his older brother, Thomas Doody, killed in action while flying a helicopter over Laos in 1971.
Thousands attended the Fourth of July event unveiling the memorial – many of them veterans. The event was coined a “welcome home” for Vietnam veterans who never received a welcome home upon their return from service. It’s a phrase that’s stuck among veterans of that war, said Telford, who is also a Vietnam veteran. “Welcome home,” he said. “That’s what we say to each other. When we came home, we didn’t get a welcome home. The only welcome home many of them received, they said, was from families they returned home to, which they said adds to the significance of the new sculpture. “There’s still a lot of emotion,” Telford said. “There always will be”. That’s why Arnold does what he does. Arnold, who made a career as a builder and airport manager, didn’t take up sculpting until later in life. A few years ago, he was asked to create a Vietnam veteran’s memorial in Mobile, Ala. “I just happened to be an artist who is also a Vietnam vet,” Arnold said. “What do you do with all the energy and emotion? You channel it”.
Doody has high hopes for the new addition to the memorial that he made happen.
“I can just envision it,” Doody said. “It will top this whole thing off”. Organizers say the life-size sculpture, which they hope to complete by summer of 2006
Is going to cost about $50,000.00. The veteran’s organization, “Help Hospitalized Veterans,” has already contributed $5,000.00 for the project.
Josh Nichols Free Press Staff Writer
Jim Doody, Founder Phone: (970) 250-5861
PO Box 340 Fruita, Colorado 81521-0340
A former fetus, the “wordsmith from nantucket” was born in Phoenix, Arizona in 1968. Adopted at birth, wordsmith grew up a military brat. He achieved his B.A. in English from the University of California, Los Angeles (graduating in the top 97% of his class), where he also competed rings for the UCLA mens gymnastics team. The events of 9/11 woke him from his political slumber and malaise. Currently a personal trainer and gymnastics coach.
The wordsmith has never been to Nantucket.
What a great memorial, thanks for posting this, i learned something today.
With all the negativity nowadays, it’s nice to see something positive. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks from a Vietnam Vet.
Very moving. Add my thanks to the list for posting this!
Echoing poster #3.
That’s just great!
By the way, I LOVE the new logo at the top. Most Excellent!
I came back because I was so moved by this post that I am doing a follow up post at Sarge Charlie.
I use to love that song I also found it very sad,I dont remember who did it. WHERE IS ALL THE SOLDIERS GONE….WHERE is all the flowers gone…we’ll never know. I forgot the other words, if
you know, please bring it on.
Thank every vet you meet for their service. And never, never forget those who spit on and condemn our Veterans to this day.
Where have all the flowers gone, a 1961 folk song sung buy Peter, Paul and Marry. As with many songs of that time it was a subtle anti war (Viet Nam) song.
BUFFALOBOB: hi, was the song made , before or during or after they came back, I was living in DAYTONA BEACH in63, and before going to work, I would go on the beach on my way, and that song was playing every day many times, and I was sad as I heard it, another one was,
THE GREEN BERETS. bye thank’s for previous info 🙄
May God BLESS all those who designed, funded, and supported this memorial. It’s phenomenal, honoring those who served while acknowledging a terrible wrong in a very classy and touching way. I actually kind of can’t believe it’s allowed to stand in today’s America.
There’s a reason why Colorado is one of my very favorite states.
A very moving 4th of July tribute, Word. And what a magic moment you captured. It would be interesting to learn the story of that little girl…. a daughter of a current warrior serving? Or one of those who paid the ultimate price?
There is a ton of info if you goggle “where have all the flowers gone”. Like the war itself opinions and feelings raged on both sides of the issue. Here is one link that talks about the feelings behind the lyrics. There are many more.
BUFFALOBOB: hi, I am the one million vewer of your link, and i won around 1665 dollars on a trip to ORLANDO, IF it’s right IT will be a first for me to win so either way, thank you for the link, bye 🙄
That is a way cool memorial, and the sentiment is so important in that we need continue to give a “welcome home” greeting to all Vietnam vets, just like this young girl did. Thanks to them, and all of our brave men and women in the military who serve or have served this great country, and to God Almighty, we can still live free and appreciate life’s many blessings.
HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY TO EVERYONE AT FLOPPING ACES!
Where have all of the flowers gone
😛 Beautiful pics of the memorial. Very nice sculpture. It was a unique war because of the draft and the lottery which made it painful. Not like the volunter war we have today.
Very moving. Children always get it right. This was the welcome our Viet Nam vets should have received in the flesh all those years ago. We can’t turn back the clock, but at least this horrible wrong has been publicly recognized. May it never happen again . . . Thank you to all of our vets and to those who are currently serving on this Independence Day.
I was thinking that perhaps she was the product of patriotic upbringing, taught to respect those who serve and appreciate their sacrifice.
Now I wish I got out of the car, talked to the family, talk to the girl, and maybe ask for a recreated, “staged” photo of her hugging the statue of the returning vet.
Capturing that original symbolic hug from up close would have made my “photo of the year” moment.
I suppose you could be correct that it was just a patriotic upbringing, Word. But hugging memorial statues wouldn’t have been the first thing that crossed my mind as a result of that sign of respect. It seems somewhat personal instead… like a child awaiting a father’s return, or one who would never return.
I’m glad you didn’t get it “staged”. I think just catching it as it was, with the story, removes all doubt it was meant for some other nefarious reason. Certainly this bozo editor, Matthew Rothschild at The Progressive, would have found some reason to diss it. Not to ruin a perfectly beautiful tribute with the diatribe of a prog/socialist about why he doesn’t celebrate Independence Day, mind you. But it’s good to know the enemy from within in this nation.
@sarge charlie: Have you linked, Sarge. Nice post.
MATA: hi, AT THE PROGRESSIVE, they must be getting short of finding talented EDiTOR,
It’s a shame to allow a MATTHEW ROTSCHILD spit on the patriotisme of the AMERICANS
on this 4rt of july, he show his lack of talent all the way. bye 🙄
Bees, Rothschild is the perfect poster child of that organization/publication. It’s a far leftwing rag who isn’t shy about defining their mission:
Obama and most others in his admin – including Hillary, Pelosi and Reid – have stated at one time or another in their past, or supported causes and legislation because they are “progressives”. This is what progressives are… This is what has a ruling grip on this nation. Rothschild is spouting a common view amongst Obama voters. And if that’s not enough, then you can read it’s sister op-ed Put Away the Flags. Here’s a few excerpts of this “rerun” of a 4th of July Progressive article during the Bush years:
Gee… who does this resemble? …. don’t help…. thinking….
It’s the 4th of July. And instead of thinking of our past independence, I now wonder about our future in the hands of these people who do not share the pride in the US.
But, it was very nice of the Obama’s to throw a picnic/BBQ for military families on the South Lawn today. Or was that more for Malia’s 11th birthday? Not sure how much time they spent communing with the families, but it was a nice gesture. And personally, were I present, I’d prefer they weren’t there.
WORDSMITH: thank you,you always touch the inner core of me and others with your post. bye 🙄
It’s the greatness of this country that allows Matthew Rothschild to have the freedom to express himself as an ingrate; it’s the shame of Matthew Rothschild that he is a sorry ass ingrate who doesn’t appreciate the privilege of being an American.
Great post, Word!
We are truly a better people.
Wordsmith, this post is and will be always revisited, with awsome ARTIST RICHARD ARNOLD OF TELLURIDE, AND AWSOME POSTER, ALONG WITH AWSOME COMMENTERS,
BEST TO YOU ALL,
REVISITED ON MARCH 25, 2011 THANK YOU AGAIN
We are always gone during the 4th and I completely missed this, so nice when our author’s stuff gets cycled back.
Wonderful, very moving post Word, anyone else would not have seen the beauty and importance of the little girl and the memorial, we are so lucky to have you.
Steamboat Springs has a bronze sculpture up on the side of Mt. Werner of skipping children linking hands and forming a half circle, wonder if it was the same sculptor. When my grandchildren were that size they would automatically run over there and join their little hands to complete the circle, the art inspired them. I wonder if such was the case with the little girl to automatically hug her daddy’s leg.
bees, Missy- thank you!
It’s always interesting when something in the archives gets commented on and you go back and re-read what you or another author had written previously, along with the comments.
Wordsmith, yes it was worth the traveling ticket to revisit,
Mike Richard,because of you, and I ‘m sure you are a hero,
thank you, for your service, AMERICA WILL COME BACK TO HER MIGHT SOON,
TO PROVE HER WORTHINESS OF ALL THE HEROS,
THEN, IT WILL BE WRITTEN IN ALL THE SCHOOLS CURICULUM SO THE CHIDREN WILL LEARN ,
AND THE PEOPLE WILL PRAY GOD TO ASK FOR YOUR SAFETY,ON THE WARZONE