Vietnam War memorial to be rededicated

Today's event marks monument's 10th year

May 30, 1999|By Brenda J. Buote | Brenda J. Buote,SUN STAFF

Nearly a quarter-century after the Vietnam War ended, memories of the conflict -- and its lingering emotions -- return today to Middle Branch Park, where the Maryland Vietnam Veterans Association will hold a rededication service honoring Americans killed and missing in action.

About 400 people are expected to attend the ceremony, which begins with a parade across the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Bridge at 11 a.m. and culminates with the rededication in front of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Del. Clarence Davis, a Baltimore Democrat, will be the keynote speaker.

"It gives us a chance to bring together veterans and their families," said Michael T. Mann of Towson, a founding member of Baltimore Chapter 451 of the Vietnam Veterans of America. "It provides healing for the veterans."

The 1,200 members of the local group hold a service at the memorial each year. Today's celebration is particularly important because it marks the memorial's 10th year, said Mann, who served in the Demilitarized Zone from 1970 to 1971 as a member of the Army's 1st Brigade, 5th Infantry.

Five Vietnam veterans fought for years to erect the memorial. In 1987, Paul Kozloski, Thomas Shaner, John Driscoll, Mike Smith and Mann finally persuaded the General Assembly to give them $2.2 million in state funds for the memorial. They had walked 365 miles across Maryland gathering public support for the project.

Today, the names of 1,046 Maryland men -- 30 missing and 1,016 dead -- are etched into the memorial's granite wall.

Said Mann: "It's a place we can go to reflect on the memories of our fallen comrades."

The rededication is expected to begin at noon at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, 2825 S. Hanover St. An open house will be held from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Baltimore Chapter 451 of the Vietnam Veterans of America, 6401 Beckley St.

Pub Date: 5/30/99

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