“Vietnam Memorial to be Rededicated on Memorial Day”

Week after week, month after month, and Memorial Day after Memorial Day the Morgan County Vietnam Memorial in Jacksonville diligently stands its post. It is seven years older than the Vietnam Memorial on the National Mall in Washington DC, and In its lifetime the memorial has silently witnessed the passing of Morgan County’s Vietnam generation from youthful adolescence to veritable, senior citizens.

Unlike the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington DC, which is surrounded by the Washington Monument and the WW2, Korean, and Lincoln Memorials, our Vietnam Memorial is encircled by Nichols Park. For many years Morgan County residents young and old have enjoyed all the trappings that the park has to offer. That surely includes the 13 little boys of our community who aged out of childhood, served our country, and to whom the memorial is dedicated.

Citizenship is not always easy, and patriotism can be very expensive emotionally, as evidenced by the fact that it has been 29 years since the last formal commemoration was held at the Vietnam Memorial. In recognition of the legal holiday, government offices, banks, and select other businesses close on Memorial Day. Veterans and Gold Star families may very well have the day off work, but they don’t really get the day off. We’re grateful that our respective families did not lose loved ones in the conflict, but 13 from our homeplace did. Down through the years we’ve poignantly left it to others to memorialize the fallen but perhaps, this year will be different.

Planning is underway to offer programs of remembrance on both Sunday, May 29 and Monday, May 30. And then at 2:00 on Memorial Day afternoon, the Vietnam Memorial in Nichols Park will be rededicated. Special invitations have been extended to Vietnam Gold Star families and we hope that not only veterans, but the entire communities of Waverly, Franklin, Jacksonville, and Morgan County join us in paying tribute to those who gave their all on our behalf. Their names are etched on the modest, gray tablet attached to the monument. And by practicing patriotism thusly, we’ll not only embolden each other, but we’ll be supporting Gold Star families as they must continue to endure the unendurable, that which none of us would ever care to do.

Chuck Murphy
Springfield, IL

Sunday, May 29

Remembering Our Veterans’ Sacrifice – Honoring Their Legacy”
Elks Club, 231 W. Morgan St. Jacksonville
2-3:30 p.m.
This program is free and open to the general public. Please enter through the rear door of the building.

Sunday, May 29

Memorial Ceremony at Legacy Plaza”
Illinois College, 1101 W. College Ave. Jacksonville

5-6 p.m.

The legacies of Robert C. McMahan ’65, Charles W. Sanders ’65 and Larry E. Welch, all Illinois College (IC) students from Morgan County who were killed in the Vietnam War, will be memorialized on the Hilltop campus.

Monday, May 30

Gold Star Interfaith Prayer Breakfast”
Hamilton’s, 110 N. East St. Jacksonville

8-10:30 a.m.

Attendees are invited to bring pictures, memorabilia, yearbooks and any other items to help stir fond memories, enhance storytelling and further perpetuate the legacy of the fallen. Gold Star family members and friends of the fallen are encouraged to attend, as is the general public. Reservations are required by emailing murphy2067@comcast.net or calling 904-314-0169 by Sunday, May 22.

Monday, May 30

Rededication of the Vietnam Memorial” Morgan County Vietnam Memorial, Nichols Park Jacksonville

2-3 p.m.

The Jacksonville Community Band will accompany the proceedings by favoring the assembly with patriotic songs. This event is free, and the public is cordially invited to attend. Lawn chairs are recommended.

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