Montgomery Co. dedicates Vietnam veterans memorial

(PHOTO: Montgomery County)

MONTGOMERY CO. – Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett unveiled the new Montgomery County Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall at Memorial Plaza in Rockville Monday.

The Memorial includes the names of 130 service members from Montgomery County who lost their lives or were reported missing in action in Vietnam, during the Vietnam War. There are four Montgomery County residents who remain missing.

Dozens of Vietnam War veterans attended the dedication ceremony, including Everett Alvarez, one of the longest-held prisoners of war, who provided remarks.

During the dedication ceremony, Leggett unveiled a Vietnam Era Honor & Gratitude plaque to pay tribute to all the Montgomery County veterans who served our country during 1955-1975.

In 1969, Leggett served as a captain for the U.S. Army in the Vietnam War.

“With the dedication of the Montgomery County Vietnam Veterans Memorial, we give homage to the service and sacrifice of these heroes,” said Leggett. “We acknowledge the 130 service members whose names are engraved on this wall with honor and gratitude. We will ensure they will not be forgotten.”

Also providing remarks and laying a wreath, Hung (Tony) Manh Bui, a Signal Corps Officer and re-education camp survivor. The ceremony concluded with the reading of all 130 inscribed names by three Vietnam veterans (Bill Gray, Jane McCarthy, and Wayne Miller) and U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen.

The Commission on Veterans Affairs was formed by Leggett more than nine years ago. The Montgomery County Vietnam Veterans Memorial Planning Committee was formed by the Commission to find a suitable site for the Memorial Wall. Planning committee members include Dan Bullis, Stephen Campenella, Ron Drach, Bill Gray, Bob Koffman, Betsy Luecking (Department of Health and Human Services staff), Jane McCarthy, Wayne Miller, Michael Subin (County Executive Office staff), and Michael Walsh.

“One of the Commission’s first charges was to establish a memorial dedicated to those killed in action and still missing in action,” said Subin. “For many of us, this will be the last chance we have to honor the memories of our fallen brothers and sisters who died in service to their country in Vietnam. And, for many of us, this will be the last chance we have to let them know that for as long as we live, they will live in our hearts and minds.”

Walsh, a member of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Planning Committee, also noted the importance of honoring these fallen heroes.

“It is said that as long as someone speaks your name, you are never truly gone and these names, etched here, will forever be in the minds, in the hearts and on the lips of all those gathered here, and generations yet to come,” Walsh said. “Everyone here has some connection to the names on this Wall, a family member, a loved one, a buddy, a classmate and I hope this memorial serves to grant them some peace and closure, and to these listed the honor and gratitude they so richly deserve.”

For more information about the 130 service members whose names are etched on the Memorial Wall, visit the Commission on Veterans Affairs website.  For more photos of the dedication ceremony, visit Montgomery County’s Flickr page.

To view a recording of the event, click here (ceremony starts at minute 17:40).