- Vietnam War veterans didn't get the "welcome home" they deserved when coming home from the war. But now, more than 50 years after the conflict, in Price County they are receiving appreciation for their sacrifices.
The Vietnam Veterans Commemorative Trail was officially dedicated on July 17th at the VFW Post 8491 in Prentice. The idea came up at a Price County Commanders call, a meeting made up of all the post commanders and commissioners for Price County, and this monument is anything but 'little'.
"We wanted to leave something that would leave an impression," said Ted Harvey, Veterans Service Officer for Price County. "We didn't want to do a single monument because everybody felt that a monument for a 13 year war period was just too little. It wasn't enough. We also thought, if we put it in one place where you could walk in a circle and get 13 markers, it just didn't seem right. It didn't emphasize what we wanted to emphasize. So what we did is we spread the markers across the county."
And across Price County they go. The trail starts off of County Road N south of Kennan, and goes as far north as Highway 182 near Park Falls. The monuments are placed along roads so people can get to them by car. Organizers say this project will be educational for the public.
"I think it's also, sort of, a healing project for veterans that for a long time didn't get much respect," says Harvey.
As you look on each plaque you will see a series of events and facts that are important to that particular year of the war, such as when the U.S. started getting involved, how many soldiers were in Vietnam at the time, how much was going into the area in man-power, and how much was going into the area in air-power.
Each plaque is a black, polished piece of granite. They were made by a monument maker in St. Cloud, Minnesota. The display on each marker is lazer etched with such detail you can read every province name on the picture of the South Vietnam map.
Sponsors paid for the plaques, and it didn't take long for them to sell out. In fact, they sold out in 30 days.
All the markers aren't put together just yet, but now that the pieces are all gathered up, it should be done very soon.
"Right now we've got them all poured, we're starting to place them. By August everything should be up and running, and by fall, for a beautiful ride, the markers will be there," said Harvey.
Each monument will have its very own 50-year anniversary dedication every March 29th, or Vietnam Veterans Day, until each monument has been celebrated.