|Oak Park High School 1969-1970|
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We wanted a memorial to remember former classmates who had lost their lives during the war. Even ones who did not believe in the war were touched by this addition to the school. Folded Flags of Honor
I knew Doug Brower who was sadly added to the plaque during my time at Oak Park
(Linda (Minor) Jackson 1972)
To this place we brought the spirits of our fallen soldiers’ home to be with us. This memorial is “Oak Park’s Wall” - hallow ground. One by one, we have journeyed here alone and stand in silence - reflecting on the memories that summoned us. Our hearts are at a loss of what to say, and we fear that whatever words left here - may somehow cause pain or offense to others. But to acknowledge their sacrifices is to show honor to them and all the other men and women in uniform who served. Those taken from us are courageous individuals who gave the ultimate personal sacrifice to defend this nation, - but far too many others who gave of themselves returned home alone, - broken in both body and spirit. The war defined these veterans who still live in its painful shadows today. These remembered are our friends who walked beside us. I know about some, and met many just like them. The Vietnam War bitterly divided Americans and spurred overwhelming anti-war protesting across this nation. Against this prevailing attitude, military drill instructors continued to mold and refine young innocence into patriotism, forged boys into men, and tempered men into warriors. America’s men in uniform were ready to go anywhere. On the Vietnam battlefields they were never defeated in combat. The names inscribed upon these plaques shall forever bind us to that dark past, but they also illuminate the significance of our way of life, our values, and our belief that all people should have the right to live free. . . . There is an unspoken oath between brothers-in-arms, that you will defend each other to the end. These men honored here, stood and delivered when everything around them told them to leave. They found unparalleled courage in the face of battle, fighting until that last terrifying moment. To the soldiers on their left and right, they lived out that promise never to forsake one another. It is a selfless act of human devotion that surpasses all other types of sacrifice. It is a unique love for one another that few witness, and none can explain.
Sgt. Wayne Cope, USAF 1971-1977
We wanted a memorial to remember former classmates who had lost their lives during the war. Even ones who did not believe in the war were touched by this addition to the school.
Folded Flags of Honor