An Afternoon with a WWII Veteran at the Ohio Veteran’s Memorial Park

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I got to spend an afternoon at the Ohio Veteran’s Memorial Park with my Grandfather, a decorated WWII Veteran.  Before sitting down to dinner at the 356th Fighter Group Restaurant in North Canton, we took some time to walk through this amazing Memorial Park in Clinton Ohio.

(Video from www.ovmp.org)

Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Wall

(Photo Credit: Matt Skillman)

One of the most amazing sites at this Memorial Park in Clinton Ohio is the Ohio Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Wall.  An amazing 125 foot long black granite wall on which is engraved with the names of 3,094 men and 1 woman, from Ohio, who lost their lives in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War.  This memorial wall is the largest freestanding monument in the USA.

The Ohio Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Wall

(Photo Credit: Matt Skillman)

Emblazoned at the top of the wall is the phrase “Lest We Forget” in shining gold letters. The Ohio Veterans’ Memorial Park “has undertaken the task to help insure that our veterans will always be remembered for the heroism and bravery.”

On the back of this wall you will find several engraved panels displaying all of the wars that have had soldiers from the state of Ohio, beginning with the War of 1812 up to the current war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Standing watch over the wall is the seven foot tall granite Gold Star Mother statue.  In her arms she holds the folded flag of the United States of America.  The statute is “dedicated to all of the mothers and families who have lost a child that was serving our country during both peacetime and war.”

One of most beautiful areas of the park is The POW/MIA Reflection Pond and Eternal Flame.  Dedicated on November 13th, 2010, it is located to the right of The Ohio Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Wall.

The POW/MIA Reflection Pond

(Photo Credit: Matt Skillman)

“This monument is made up of a large sitting area that will be surrounded by benches, a four tier waterfall, a walkway, a fifty foot wide pond, a black granite POW/MIA monument, an inverted Vietnam War helmet with the eternal flame and a cast steel POW/MIA seal generously donated by Rolling Thunder, and the black granite backing wall (installation date to be announced).”

My Grandfather, Carl Will at the POW/MIA Reflection Pond

(Photo Credit: Matt Skillman)

We were also very happy to present my Grandfather with a personalized brick within the Air Force walkway.  His son (my late uncle) served in the Army during the Vietnam War.  At my Grandfather’s request, their bricks have been placed alongside each other.  It was an honor to spend the afternoon with my Grandfather and ask him about his experiences in Europe and the Pacific.  My grandfather mentioned that he would like to visit Pantanella Italy and the memorial to his old plane’s crash site in the Czech Republic.  I told him that if he was up to make the flight to Europe, then I would join him.

My Grandfather and Uncle honored.

(Photo Credit: Matt Skillman)

We were very impressed with the Ohio Veterans’ Memorial Park.  It is within a very beautiful and serene setting in Clinton Ohio.  The kind people that run the Memorial Park have a great vision for the future of the Park and I look forward to returning in the future to see all of the addition of the granite wall behind the POW/MIA Reflection Pond.  To visit their site, check out www.ovmp.org.

Source: Ohio Veterans’ Memorial Park (www.ovmp.org)

 


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