"In memory of all Vietnam war brothers and sisters that have gone before us."
"Sadly you have gone away
But we remember every day
The sacrifice that each one gave
Those so willing and so brave
The stars and stripes shall never part
We keep you close within our hearts"
Vietnam Veteran Rod Voisine spoke with commitment and resolve about plans for a memorial stone dedicated to fallen servicemen of Cumberland County. Voisine, a retired US Marine, is chair of the 5-member Vietnam War 50th Committee, whose goal is to bring a memorial stone to the Windham Veterans Center Memorial Garden. The granite stone will measure 30 inches high by 36 inches wide with a 6-inch depth and will bear a stirring inscription (see box quote) and the official seals of soldiers missing in action, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, and the Vietnam Commemoration (service – valor – sacrifice). Also part of the monument will be 52 pavers identifying the fallen from 12 communities in Cumberland County, including Standish, Sebago and Gray. None were killed in action from Windham, Raymond or Gorham.
Voisine, who served near Da Nang in 1969-70 and later aboard the USS Anchorage during the Saigon evacuation in 1975, said about half of the $4,500 cost of the project has been raised through donations, and a dinner and raffle.
The committee hopes to attract interest from county residents for either donations or participation in fundraising, especially the families of those who were lost in battle. The committee, members of American Legion Field-Allen Post 148, hope to install the commemorative stone and pavers by Veterans Day when a special ceremony is planned. Part of the motivation for the project, said Voisine, is the need to affirm a sentiment toward the returning Vietnam Veteran and those KIA that states, “Welcome back home. They never got that,” he said.
The memorial stone project is part of a three year commemorative period to remember, thank and honor Vietnam War Veterans and their families, including the fallen, wounded and prisoners of war. The Windham post will host ceremonial events through 2017. One of the first occurred this past Memorial Day with a parade and open house at the Windham Veterans Center that featured a visit by Gov. Paul LePage.
There is a significant number of Vietnam-era Veterans in the Windham-Raymond area, according to the Field Allen Post, and the post extends an invitation to hear from them as it compiles a list of local vets to receive recognition, information about the 50th anniversary activities, and to offer an opportunity to participate in upcoming commemorative events.
For more information on the Windham memorial stone or the three year 50th anniversary commemoration, contact Rod Voisine at 207-400-6671 or email email@example.com; or call Chuck Whynot at 207-892-4720 or email firstname.lastname@example.org . Donations are accepted at:
American Legion Post 148
P.O. Box 1776
Windham, ME 04062