Weekly Gem #176 A Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Location: This hidden gem is located in near the corner of Blaine and East Franklin Streets in Missoula, MT (see the Clue Me! Map).
This particular Vietnam Veterans Memorial is tucked in a quiet corner of a quiet park, which has several other memorials (including the Memorial Rose Garden, which has more than 2,500 rose bushes just a few steps away). The 'feel' is somewhat somber and respectful as you would expect, but also surprisingly pleasing and cheery due to the extensive and well-placed gardens that bring color throughout.
The memorial's design was determined by local Vietnam Veterans, with the angel representing those who died, as well as many who made it home thanks to extraordinary luck (or perhaps heavenly intervention). For example, the Missoula group included a Marine helicopter pilot whose tail rotor was shot off while flying at 1100 feet ... a few terrifying seconds later their helicopter was smashed on the ground, everyone with broken bones, but alive. As he put it during the deliberations about which design to select: "I know (the angel) above pulled my sorry @$$ out a couple times." That sentiment resonated with just about everyone, and the angel carried the day.
Here's the hidden gem entry from our Clue Me! map.
A Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Why It's Interesting
When you think about the Vietnam Memorial, "The Wall" comes to mind. But there are many Vietnam Memorials, such as this one in Missoula. It was built by a group of veterans who lived nearby, and seems to convey the same message as The Wall, but in a much different way.