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may/june 2008

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BY BRUCE W. WHITAKER, REGION 3 DIRECTOR
Region 3 is pleased to welcome everyone to South Carolina for the 2008 VVA Leadership Conference and 30th VVA Anniversary celebration in Greenville. While you’re here, be sure to visit the Greenville County Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Cleveland Park.

After the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, a Greenville Memorial Committee was established in 1984 consisting of Ron Norris, David Murray, Jim Land, and Connie Bailey. They worked with the South Carolina Vietnam Era Veterans Association and its president, Mike Davis.

For two years, weekly meetings were held at the home of David and Peggy Murray. A competition was held for the memorial’s design. Eddie Worthy, a double amputee Vietnam veteran, submitted the winning entry. The committee estimated the cost at $90,000.

The Greenville City Council donated the land in Cleveland Park. Cely Construction Company did most of plans and site preparation at a greatly reduced rate. Then the committee began fundraising in earnest. Efforts included yard sales, donation jars, displays at local malls, and 5K and 10K runs. A local artist created a print of the proposed memorial, which was used as a fundraiser. In all, some $66,000 was raised in two years.

During this period, other features were added to the memorial: a Gold Star Mothers recognition panel, a map of Vietnam, emblems of all branches of the military, a legacy statement, and poems were written by local school children.

Groundbreaking was held during the Fourth of July week of 1987. The memorial was dedicated on November 7, 1987. VVA Chapter 523 washes the memorial and provides regular upkeep.

The Greenville Zoo is on the hill above the memorial site.

Sometimes it’s hard to get through a solemn occasion without the monkeys going crazy. The land was donated; sometimes you can’t be too choosy.

Nancy Nix provided the history of the memorial.

 

 

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