The Vietnam War claimed the lives of over 5,800 Californians. The names of the missing and dead are engraved on panels surrounding the memorial in Capitol Park in Sacramento. Several bronze sculptures and plaques depict scenes from the war.
Gunnery Sgt. Ken Nelson volunteers to watch the memorial – he ensures that people treat it with the respect it deserves. He’ll remind people why they shouldn’t eat their lunch inside the memorial area. He’ll tell you about the people he knew in the war, and about the work that has to be done to keep the memorial clean and safe for visitors. Kids climb on the statues, and he chases them down and explains to them why the memorial should be respected. I’m sure little kids today have no idea what it all represents. For the kids, it’s just some metal statues; for Gunnery Sgt. Nelson, who served from 1967-70, it means everything.
The dedication monument has this engraved on it: “All Gave Some, Some Gave All.”
If you stop by the memorial, spend a moment with the statue of the soldier sitting in the center. He’s reading the last page of a letter from home. You can read it, too. It’ll tear your heart out.
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