Vietnam Memorial Needs Some TLC - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

06/23/04

Vietnam Memorial Needs Some TLC

The Mississippi Vietnam Veteran's Memorial in Ocean Springs has been called one of the best memorials in the country.

The memorial was built with donations from people like you, not with government money. But keeping the memorial operating takes a lot of money, which is why some veterans are asking for your help.

Since the memorial was first dedicated seven years ago more photos have been added, a Vietnam-era Huey helicopter is now on the grounds, and the mast from the USS Mississippi. The elements have taken a toll on this outdoor memorial.

"It's been seven years, things keep popping up that need to be taken care of," Vietnam Veteran Larry Lucas said.

Areas that need a little tender loving care are bricks that should be replaced, water stains on the memorial, flags showing signs of wear and tear, and lights that no longer work. Plus there are the photographs donated by family members.

"They cost money. One of the pictures alone, by itself, would cost $300 to have it laser etched and mounted," Lucas said.

There were 667 Mississippi casualties in Vietnam, and 95 photos still have not been located. Thirteen photographs are on hand, but they can't be mounted since there isn't enough money.

"I don't think it's fair to the families, who gave pictures to wait a year and a half to get the money to have those pictures placed on the wall," Lucas said.

Every day visitors stop by this site in Ocean Springs. It's a place that will help future generations understand the sacrifices made by so many.

"And people need to come out and look at this, and see just how nice it is. Most of these kids were 19 and 20 years old. This is what they have for a future, and they deserve something to remind people of what they did, and the sacrifice they made," Vietnam Veteran Mickey Stanley said.

The Vietnam Memorial will hold its annual fund raiser July 3rd at the Ocean Springs Civic Center on Highway 49. The fundraiser will be a car, truck and bike show, and its success helps to keep this memorial open.

By: Jeff Lawson

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