The Joint American-Vietnamese Alliance invites everyone to visit the Vietnam War memorial on Saturday, part of Veterans Day weekend festivities in Auburn.
The memorial, in Les Gove Park, 910 Ninth St. SE, was completed in June. Several veterans groups have visited the memorial this year, according to the Auburn Arts, Parks and Recreation Department.
The memorial can be found along the trail that twists around the interior of Les Gove, on the east side of the park, between the bocce courts and King County Housing. Alliance members and City staff worked side by side for the last 2½ years to design the memorial, a rounded, concrete plaza 30 feet across, circled by an arching wall 4½ to 5 feet high, flanked by two flag poles.
The American- Vietnamese War Memorial Alliance had to come up with $150,000 to build the memorial.
It launched a fundraising campaign on Memorial Day weekend, starting with the sale of about 1,000 granite “honor tiles” for $100 a piece. It inscribes those tiles in memory of people who fought in the war or of those who supported the cause, then places them at the rear of the monument, next to a sitting wall.
There is still time for the public to order a tile to honor a Vietnam veteran.
Tung Tranh, president of the Vietnamese American Community in Seattle and South King County, explained what it means to have the memorial.
“After the war, the communists destroyed all the statues, memorials of the South Vietnam Army. So this is the only country that allows us to have things like this, to honor the sacrifices of our military,” Tranh said.
The monument itself is a work in progress. Stone benches are planned to augment the memorial as well as other enhancements for its usefulness. The present construction also ensures that it can serve the many diverse veteran groups of this state.
The memorial has always been intended as a place of quietness and refection for visitors. As it is now, it has reached this goal. Please plan on a visit and weather permitting, a picnic.
Learn more about the memorial and the American-Vietnamese Alliance at honorvietnamvets.org.