BY BOB JOHNSTON, CALIFORNIA STATE COUNCIL PRESIDENT
Has it been that long? It seems like only yesterday that
Vietnam veterans, their families, and friends joined citizens
from all over California on December 10, 1988, in Sacramento
for a bittersweet celebration—the dedication
of the California Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Capitol Park.
No one who was there will ever forget the remarks made by
the late B.T. Collins, an Army Special Forces captain in
Vietnam and the moving force behind the Memorial.
is a beautiful and fitting tribute to California’s
sons and daughters who lost their lives in the war in Southeast
Asia. It consists of gray granite columns arranged in a circle,
with outfacing black marble panels that bear the names of
those who fell in the Vietnam War.
In 1988, we somberly gazed at the 5,822 names of California’s
dead and missing in action, and remembered that long-ago
bloody struggle half a world away. These are names of men
and women we fought alongside, men and women we never had
the opportunity to know.
We reflected on the Memorial inscription
that reads, “All
Gave Some. Some Gave All.” We, the living, came to
honor our dead. “We will never forget,” we promised.
VVA California State Council and the California Department
of Veterans Affairs are hosting the 20th Anniversary Celebration
of the California Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Sacramento,
The commemoration will begin with a reading of the names
of Californians killed or missing in action during the Vietnam
War. A film festival Wednesday evening, December 10, will
screen two movies about the Vietnam War, Dear America: Letters
Home From Vietnam and We Were Soldiers.
The California State
Council will host a dinner Friday night, December 12, honoring
the members of the California Vietnam Veterans Memorial Commission
who oversaw the development and building of the Memorial
in 1988. The California legislators who enacted legislation
sponsoring the construction also will be honored.
On Saturday, December 13, we will once again
march through the streets of Sacramento and gather at the
Memorial to pay tribute to the fallen of the Vietnam War
and to help our veterans who still struggle. California Vietnam
Medal of Honor awardees will be the Grand Marshals of the
parade. A USO-type show will immediately follow on the State
VVA members across California are actively involved
in planning and coordinating the events. VVA National Board
Member Jerry Yamamoto chairs the California Vietnam Veterans
Memorial 20th Anniversary Coordinating Council. Bob Johnston,
Sr., president of the VVA California State Council, is the
All Vietnam veterans, their families, and veterans
of all generations are invited to attend this special event.
Please join us December 10-14 in Sacramento at Capitol Park.
more information, including schedules and hotel accommodations,
go to: www.CAVietnamMemorial.com