Vietnam War Memorial in Shopping Center of Houston, TX
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Vietnam War Memorial
This Vietnam War Memorial is in the middle of a shopping center parking lot in Houston off of Bellaire Boulevard. The address is 11360 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, Texas 77072. It is a touching tribute to the United States soldiers as well as civilians who fought and endured the sufferings of that war, fighting communism.
This Houston Metro Area where these statues are is often referred to as “Chinatown” because it has a predominant Asian-American community whose people live and work there.
Vietnamese American citizens generously funded this memorial erected in 2005.
The Vietnam War was very unpopular as well as a divisive war for those of us living in America. The draft was in effect back then. Both of my brothers served in Vietnam when United States involvement accelerated in the 1960s. My brother John was in the Navy, and my brother Jim was in the Army. The reception for returning veterans was hardly welcoming. It was very hurtful for those who had served.
Anti-war protests kept escalating in the United States, particularly after the Tet Offensive in 1968. Despite all of the firepower and might of the United States as well as our allies in fighting the war, that particular battle was a turning point. Americans were led to believe that the end of the war was in sight. After the Tet Offensive, the tide turned, and protests against the war became subject matter for the nightly news. It also ended any thoughts of President Lyndon Johnson running for the 2nd term of office. Richard Nixon would become President of the United States.
End of the War
The capture of Saigon by the North Vietnamese was the dramatic end to the war on April 30, 1975. I still remember viewing television which portrayed U.S. helicopters being utilized to rescue some last minute evacuees from rooftops as that long drawn out war came to a climactic end.
U.S. casualties numbered 58,220 with 1,626 missing in action according to Wikipedia. Vietnamese soldiers and civilian losses, according to the same source, totaled anywhere from an estimated 966,000 to 3.8 million! Of course, those numbers do not account for everyone who sustained injuries. Many people’s lives were changed forever after that war, as in all conflicts.
The monument featuring a traditionally dressed Vietnamese family in the same parking lot honors those who battled for the Republic of (South) Vietnam against communism. Houston is now the home for a massive community of Vietnamese American families.
One of the largest populations of military veterans also calls Houston home. So it is very fitting that these beautifully detailed statues exist in harmony with one another.
Each of the two monuments is allotted some space in the parking lot apart from one another, yet glimpses of them are seen from one to the other. The three flags flown represent the United States, Vietnam, and Texas.
Public Art Exhibit
Open the Door was a collaborative public art exhibit displayed in several places all across the Houston area. One of those painted doors is here. We are starting to spot them in other sites as well, and they are always a pleasant surprise. Several them were in the beautiful Oyster Creek Park in Sugar Land when my husband and I first visited that park.
Part of what is written describing this artful door is as follows:
“Located next to a War Memorial, this piece of public art is also an interactive platform.
The Talking Door stems from the idea that the image of a door can represent every new experience in life. When a “door” is composed of people’s written words in various languages, it becomes a meeting place for people’s words and their meanings. And it echoes the encounters of human experiences in all languages.
The Talking Door is derived from the Echoes of Language Project, for which the artist Yu-Ru Huang has collected people’s words of personal significance and arranged them into objects that carry a metaphoric implication.
Special thanks to Texas State Representative Herbert Vo for installing the Talking Door onto the current site in 2015.”
There are many memorials in Texas honoring veterans who fought in Vietnam. Also, most monuments include those who fought for values of freedom in other wars as well. Examples include the memorials located in Bear Creek Park and the Fallen Warriors Memorial in northwest Houston. Of course, our beautiful Houston National Cemetery holds veterans from many conflicts spanning the globe.
Volunteer Military in U.S.
The different branches of our military now consist of volunteers. Those who currently volunteer for military service only constitute about 1% of our total population. They are the people who help protect us against enemies who would like to destroy the freedoms we all enjoy. They give hope to those around the world who seek freedom. May we always honor their service.