Since today is Independence Day, I thought it appropriate to mention a project that is underway in Chattanooga/Hamilton County, Tennessee. The Chief John Ross Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and Girls Preparatory School (GPS) students are the local sponsors for a state-wide effort to recognize those soldiers who sacrificed their lives to preserve the independence of others during the Vietnam War. In all, the War would claim the lives of 57 Hamilton County residents between 1963 and 1971. The controversy surrounding the conflict has thus far denied the soldiers and their families acknowledgement of their sacrifice and the closure they deserve.
I was born during the War, my father served in country, and there is just something about it that intrigues me, so my friend Kathy and I have volunteered to help locate information about these men, and to try to identify any living relatives so they may be contacted to provide their own photos and memories. These will then become a part of the Tennessee State Library and Archives program “Tennessee Remembers: Vietnam Veterans.” The photos will also be part of a “Faces of Valor” display in the Tennessee War Memorial Building in Nashville.
The photos also will be sent on to the Faces Never Forgotten online program that is part of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
Plans are being made for a local Vietnam memorial honoring the 57 soldiers, and the families are invited to offer suggestions about the type of memorial they’d like to see.
You can read the stories of a few of these soldiers here. If you, or anyone you know, is a relative of one of the Hamilton County soldiers who gave all, please contact me and I’ll pass your information along.Do we share ancestors? Email me: lostancestors AT gmail DOT com
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