Alton Vietnam Memorial Wall Planned, Donations Requested
ALTON - Air Force Veteran Brendan Henrion and his wife, Tiffany, are planning to bring a Vietnam Memorial Wall to Alton with a project named “Remembering Vietnam.” After meeting with Alton Mayor David Goins, they’re now in the process of raising donations and finding a location for the wall.
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Henrion served for four years in the Air Force and said the inspiration for the wall came from Tiffany’s grandfather, a Vietnam veteran named Edward Buckshot.
“My wife’s grandfather is a marine, he served two tours in Vietnam … years ago, he came
up with the origins of the whole project dedicating a memorial wall for Vietnam,” Brendan said. “He experienced that when everybody came home, they had all been drafted to go serve, then they all came home and they got spat on and not really welcomed with open arms. There’s a lot of us who feel like Vietnam veterans weren’t appreciated at that point.”
He said the wall will also be a tribute to other veterans, and families who would like to share their stories can do so through their Facebook page or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We call it a Vietnam Memorial Wall because that’s where it really started, but in all honesty, it’s for anybody and everybody who’s ever served - future, past, and current,” he said.
The wall will feature each military branch’s flag and will be built out of bricks, which people will be able to purchase to have their names or family members’ names engraved and put on the wall. It will also feature a ramp to be wheelchair-accessible.
He said his wife met with Alton Mayor David Goins, and the mayor “agrees with the project and is 100% for it.” They’re currently looking for a location, ideally somewhere in downtown Alton.
“I live downtown here in Alton, and I heard that they’re trying to revamp downtown and bring in a lot more tourism,” Henrion said. “I think it would be really nice, we’re right across from St. Louis, it would be a really great spot to have something like that in our area.”
Before they secure a location, they need to secure the funding and see if local residents are interested in supporting the project.
“We started a GoFundMe, I started a Facebook page, and am working on a website now. We’ve created a small nonprofit organization to take in donations,” he said. “Also, just to see if local residents, if that’s something they would want too. I’ve been trying to reach out and get other people’s stories, and I’ve actually gotten a few people who told me their stories about family members who served in Vietnam too.
“We’re just trying to get the word out and see if it’s going to be possible to raise the funds to do the project. After we get all the funds stacked together, then we’re going to be re-meeting with the Mayor and the Landmarks Association to see … where’s a good place to put it.”
After speaking to a few concrete contractors, Henrion said the total estimated cost of the project is somewhere around $600,000. Those who want to support the project can donate to the project’s GoFundMe, or CashApp $Remembering Vietnam.
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