In 2018, a Vietnam Monument was installed and dedicated to Veterans with Martinsville-Henry County ties who served in Vietnam in country. A committee was formed in 2016 to determine criteria and guidelines to follow for this project. It was unanimously decided after much thought and consideration by the members of the committee which was made up of local Veterans, Bassett Historical Center staff and board members, DAR members, and several community members. It was determined that this specific project would highlight those Vietnam Veterans who served in Vietnam in country. This decision was in no way meant to diminish the service of any Veteran who served our country where they were asked.
After collecting names for more than a year, a monument was constructed honoring the 345 names turned in by the Veteran himself or by a loved one. Twenty-six of those listed on the monument were killed in action. This monument is an attempt to honor not just those Veterans who gave the ultimate sacrifice and lost their lives while serving in Vietnam, but to also honor those who returned home. It is a way that the community shows their appreciation for military service for our country while at the same time showing appreciation to the families whom they represent.
In 2022, with great support and help from the community, “military square” was born. This area located on the grounds of the Bassett Historical Center received a much needed upgrade and facelift, not only to help make the area more attractive but to also help keep it safe from vehicular damage. An upgrade to the landscape, new pavers, and barriers were added around the Vietnam Monument. A flagpole will be added at the back of the monument in honor and memory of all Veterans and the existing DMZ/Korean Conflict Bench will be moved to be a part of this “square.”
To complete this area, the Bassett Historical Center is embarking on yet another military project.
It was brought to our attention that a number of Veterans missed the opportunity to have their names included on the Vietnam Monument for numerous reasons. To include and recognize those Veterans in our “military square” who missed the opportunity to be included on the monument, we would like to incorporate a Vietnam Bench with names of those Veterans (living or deceased) who are not on the monument. The same criteria for the monument will be applied to the bench. Veterans must have served in Vietnam in country and must have some ties to the Martinsville-Henry County area. To be included in this Vietnam Bench project, a copy of the Veteran’s DD214 (discharge papers) is required.
If the Veteran has been seen at the VA Hospital in Salem, contact them for a copy of the Veteran’s DD214.
If the Veteran is deceased and has a military marker, contact the funeral home that was in charge of the arrangements for a copy of the Veteran’s DD214.
We at the Bassett Historical Center cannot request a copy of a DD214 for you due to the privacy act. A family member must do this as these papers are not for public use.
We are prepared to collect names for this Vietnam Bench project for the next six months. We would like as many names as possible as we do not want to leave anyone out who would like to be included. However, once these names are collected, approved, and sent to the engravers, no more names will be accepted.
The Bassett Historical Center will be open Saturday, September 10, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. for the Bassett Heritage Festival. David Kipfinger, a Veteran and friend of the Center, will be on site to accept DD 214’s for this project or to answer any questions about the Vietnam Bench that you may have.
The deadline for this project will be 1 March 2023.
If you have any questions or need further information, contact the Bassett Historical Center at (276) 629-9191 and ask for Fran or Anne.
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