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The Massachusetts Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Updated on June 9, 2013

Located in a serene corner of Green Hill Park in Worcester, is the Massachusetts Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Situated on 4 acres, the Memorial pays homage to the 1547 Massachusetts soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who died in that conflict or passed away later due to injuries received in action in Vietnam.

The Memorial consists of three sections. A Place of Words consists of letters written by Servicemen to loved ones at home. The texts are carved into 4 granite pillars. A Place of Flags has three large flagpoles, one has the US flag, another, the black POW-MIA flag, while a third has the Commonwealth of Massachusetts flag. Several others poles fly the flags of the various armed services. The third, and most solemn section is called A Place of Names. Six granite columns bear the names of 1546 servicemen (and 1 servicewoman) from Massachusetts whose young lives was cut down in this war. The Memorial, which has a small duck pond in the middle is pulled together by several seating areas, walkways and impeccable landscaping. The multicolored flowers and bushes provide color in the summer and fall, against the light grey of the granite columns. It is a beautiful place to be.

I have been there several times. The first thing one notices upon entering the Memorial is the sereneness and tranquility of the area. Visitors talk in hushed tones. Sitting on the benches, one can admire the architecture and beauty of the place. Last summer, I was at the Park for the Summernationals car show. The thousands of people and revving cars just outside did not ruin the solemnity and tranquility of the area.

A Place of Flags
A Place of Flags | Source
A Place of Names
A Place of Names | Source

Recently, while sitting on the benches of the Memorial, I realized if I had been born ten years earlier my name could have been one carved on the granite here. One can only imagine the hell and horrors these 1547 went through. Each one of them was someone’s son, brother, father, boyfriend and/or husband. Whether you agree or disagree with the morality of this war, I will not debate the morality of this war. Maybe in a future column I’ll examine these issues, but not now. The purpose of this Hub is to think about and remember the great sacrifices made by these people and their families.

But Vietnam was not the only war that this state (and this country) sent their boys to fight and die. According to about 1.2 million American’s have been killed in all of America’s wars and military actions. They died to build this country and to keep it free. In Worcester there are several other military memorials to Servicemen who gave their lives. The older neighborhoods of the city have many small granite memorials to servicemen from the Spanish-American War to the present who have who have died in the service of this country.

I will say that I while I have not been in the military, let alone seen the horrors of combat. I am thankful and grateful to the people who have. They have allowed generations to live free. But I admit I don’t know if just being thankful is enough and I am sure I am not alone.

Even the great war correspondent Ernie Pyle felt his feelings of gratitude might not be enough. In his great memoir of the men and the fighting in North Africa in 1943, Here is Your War, he talked about the thousands of men in Tunisia who laid down their lives. He decided the only thing he could do is mutter “Thanks Pal” as he passed their graves.

A Place of Names
A Place of Names | Source

Ernie Pyle "Here is Your War"


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      Natile 3 years ago

      I met Milton and Ruby only a few times, and it was many years ago. I had not heard of his passing. I have been going thuogrh my own difficult times, but his warmth and smile and the few soft and encouraging words he spoke to me so many years ago stuck with me, and that's how I ended up finding this website. Months ago I was clearing thuogrh some old pictures, getting ready to move on to the next chapter of my life. Listening to Jazz Music and I came across pictures of Donna and the Murrill children. It put a smile on my face, as I wiped away my tears. Those tears have returned to me now, finding out very much by accident of his passing. To Ruby and the rest of the family, please know that it is very much in part my memories of you and Milton that have helped me get thuogrh these times and keep a smile on my face and not let my experiences drag me into despair. My thoughts are with you all, you touched my life.I thank you for that, and for all the wonderful music.

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      Bruna 3 years ago

      Every one understands that modren life seems to be expensive, however people require money for various issues and not every one gets enough cash. So to receive some and short term loan should be a right way out.

    • billd01603 profile image

      billd01603 5 years ago from Worcester

      Thanks for reading shiningirisheyes. I'm glad you enjoyed it

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 5 years ago from Upstate, New York

      I commend you for providing a detailed and well-researched review while putting a spotlight on an important part of our history. I clearly remember sitting in our parlor as a little girl, waiting to hear that nights draft and praying my older brothers birthday was not selected. It never was, thank God. SO many young men paid the ultimate sacrifice so I may exercise freedoms such as leaving this comment.

      Great write. Voting up

    • billd01603 profile image

      billd01603 5 years ago from Worcester

      Thanks lrc815. I enjoyed writing it

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      Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

      What a beatiful hub about a beautiful memorial and tribute to the men and women who paid the ultimate price in Vietnam. Thank you for remembering them in such an awesome, heartfelt piece.