WASHINGTON COUNTY – A new monument designed to pay tribute to Vietnam veterans both living and deceased is one step closer to becoming a reality as organizers of the monument have announced an unveiling date.
The new monument, which is still accepting names of Vietnam veterans who wish to be included or whose family members wish them to be included, will be unveiled in a ceremony Sept. 10 at Zion Harley Davidson 2345 N. Canyon Blvd. in Washington City at 11 a.m.
The monument has long been the dream of St. George resident, Judith Cooley, whose husband was a Vietnam veteran. Cooley’s husband passed away because of complications related to exposure to Agent Orange – an herbicide used by the United States Military as part of an herbicidal warfare program during the Vietnam War – or Agent Orange poisoning.
Cooley’s husband won’t be able to witness the unveiling of the monument, but it is her hope that many other Vietnam veterans and/or their family members will be able to see that they are appreciated and honored for their service.
Dorothy Maxon, a member of the committee that is bringing the monument to fruition, comes from a military family. Her father served in World War II, her son served in the military and many of her extended family members also served. Maxon said that honoring veterans is very important to her.
Maxon is helping with final preparations for the monument’s unveiling and has a special interest in seeing it completed because of her brother who is a Vietnam veteran. Maxon’s brother was wounded in Vietnam and has a Purple Heart – a military decoration given in the name of the president of the United States to those who have been wounded or killed while serving in the armed forces – she said.
Maxon touched on the way Vietnam veterans were treated when they came home recounting that they were called “baby killers” and had things thrown at them. Maxon said that her brother refused to even talk about it, it was so awful.
To have a monument so close to home that will appropriately pay tribute to veterans of the Vietnam War and their service to the United States is what interested Maxon in helping the monument become a reality, she said.
Rhoda Taylor tells a similar story. Taylor had a brother-in-law, her husband’s brother, who died of Agent Orange poisoning he received during his service in Vietnam.
“We watched him die a horrible, horrible death,” Taylor said.
Taylor is also on the monument committee and is committed to helping all veterans know that they are appreciated and valued.
“We believe in them,” Taylor said. “We want them to know how much we appreciate everything they did and gave for each of us to have the freedoms that we have.”
While the monument now has a permanent home and the unveiling date is set, organizers are still about $4,000 shy of the needed funds to pay for the monument, Cooley said, but added they are confident people will come through and help them reach their goal.
Several fundraising events have been planned to raise the additional $4,000 starting with a yard sale fundraiser Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Canyon View Apartments, 1120 W. 360 N., St. George.
Donations are also being accepted on an ongoing basis. Those wishing to donate yard sale items, money or those who have the name of a Vietnam veteran they would like engraved on the monument can contact Cooley by telephone at 435-705-9726.
- Saturday, May 14, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. | Yard Sale Fundraiser | Location: Canyon View Apartments, 1120 W. 360 N., St. George
- Saturday, May 28, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. | Yard Sale Fundraiser | Location: Winter Haven RV Resort, 1160 E. Telegraph St., Washington City
- Saturday, June 25, 11 a.m. | Barbecue and Opportunity Drawing | Location: Zion Harley Davidson, 2345 N. Canyon Blvd. in Washington City
- Saturday, Sept. 10, 11 a.m. | Monument Unveiling and Barbecue | Location: Zion Harley Davidson, 2345 N. Canyon Blvd. in Washington City
- For more information or to donate, contact Judith Cooley | Telephone 435-705-9726
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