Valenti: Installation of Cayuga County Memorial in Vietnam marks the end of a long road | Lifestyles

Nicholas C. Valenti Special for the Citizen

Thursday, September 30, a trip started in 2005 came to an end. Cayuga County Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter # 704 attended the Cayuga County Vietnam Veterans Memorial Assembly at Centerport Aqueduct Park at 2462 Route 31 in Brutus Town . Dryden Chapter 377 joined Cayuga County Chapter on this celebrated day. A dry eye was hard to find as all participants witnessed a one-of-a-kind memorial taking shape before their eyes. A memorial dedicated to remembering the sacrifices of our Vietnam Veterans and their families, honoring the service of every Veteran and teaching future generations that there is a cost to freedom.

Each memorial panel has a story to tell:

• The two front exterior panels represent some of the military armaments and equipment used in Vietnam, as well as our warriors and support personnel in various roles.

• The two interior front panels contain the facial images of the 29 Cayuga County veterans killed in Vietnam along with their dates of death, their city, town or village of origin, where they were buried and their branch of service. .

• The central panel has a detailed map of Vietnam showing the location of each of the dead in our county. It also puts the country of Vietnam in perspective with Southeast Asia.

• The central back panel of the memorial bears the 40-year history of our involvement in this country.

• The two interior rear panels reflect the loss of life by these men and women in uniform who served in Vietnam and died on their return as a result of their service. These are perpetual panels, and names will be added such as the effects of various exposures and the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Not all of the Chapter 704 members who started this business were there to see it finally happen. Eugene Davis, Robert McDuffie, Kent Howland, James Miller, Tom Minnoe, Melvin Spurling, Raymond Riley, Luigi Lombardi, Richard Spriggs, Leonard Brewster, and Francis E. Bell Jr. come to mind. I can’t help but think that they are all smiling at us for a job well done.

Nicholas C. Valenti is a member of Vietnam Veterans America Chapter # 704, Cayuga County.

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