Vietnam Veterans celebrate 25th anniversary of local memorial

| November 15, 2012

COSHOCTON – Michael S. Caley, Jerry W. Heskett, Douglas S. Kempf, Robert O. Korns, Donald V. Stein, Charles K. Wright and Chester A. Wright should be considering retirement and enjoying grandchildren. Unfortunately, these things aren’t possible for them because they made the ultimate sacrifice for their country during the Vietnam War.

The Coshocton County Vietnam Veterans group wants to make sure their sacrifices are never forgotten.

“I can’t tell you the names on the memorial and at one time I could,” said Robert Sees Jr. “I’d like my memory refreshed and definitely the county’s on what’s on this memorial and why it’s there.”

The local Vietnam Veterans group will celebrate the 25th anniversary of its memorial at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, at the Coshocton County Court Square. In the case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held at the Elks. The Elks also will host a dinner for members and guests of the Coshocton County Vietnam Veterans group.

The idea for the memorial was formed in 1985 and after fundraising and a design competition it was dedicated Nov. 28, 1987. Dale Foster’s design was selected for the memorial and Jim Buday came up with the inscription for it. Both are members of the Coshocton County Vietnam Veterans group.

According to Foster, the black and white walls of the memorial show the controversy of the war.

“I have a lot of feelings for those who did go to Vietnam,” Foster said. “I didn’t have to get on the plane, but I was close.”

The black part, where the names are inscribed, also was designed to remind people of The Wall in Washington D.C.

“It’s an honor to have our own memorial,” said Mike Burkey. “Not everybody is able to go to D.C. so it’s an honor for our county to remember these seven.”

The anniversary ceremony for the memorial will be short, but the Vietnam Veterans group is going to make sure they somehow display the photos of the local men who were killed in the war.

“A picture is worth a thousand words,” Burkey said.

Families of the soldiers who were killed in Vietnam also are invited to the ceremony.

“The memorial is there for the families and the veterans that served,” Foster said.

The Coshocton County Vietnam Veterans group made sure to spruce up the memorial before its ceremony.

“We redid the concrete around the memorial,” Foster said. “The brick that was there was an afterthought. There was no drainage and water was lifting the brick up and making it uneven. Now the water will flow away.”

Just like when the memorial was built, the group was able to get donations for the work that needed done.

“Holmes Redimix donated the concrete,” Foster said. “The owner is a veteran and he also ended up hauling it here for free.”

Sees hopes that programs like this ceremony and groups like his can help show children what war is really like.

“We have to give children the true history because veterans are dropping like flies,” he said.

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About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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