DEDICATION After more than ten years,
many private contributions and thousands of volunteer hours, the Vietnam
Veterans Memorial of Greater Rochester was dedicated on Sunday, September
8th, 1996. The Memorial is a two-acre educational park located in Highland
Park South in Rochester, New York. The purpose of the Memorial is to
commemorate, to educate, and to heal. Environmental Design and Research
of Syracuse, New York, helped create the design, and Al Turner Contracting,
Metalmorphosis, and Gordon Phillips Construction completed the construction
with granite work done by Fletcher granite, Chip Gatchell of Class Crafters,
and Bill Yager of Hampton Memorials.
The ceremony was held at the site of the Memorial, 1440 South Avenue, and Barry Culhane was the Master of Ceremonies. The keynote speakers for the ceremony were Col. Roger Donlon (ret.) from Leavenworth, Kansas, who was the first Medal of Honor recipient from the Vietnam War, and MSG Roy Benavidez (ret.) from El Campo, Texas, who was the last Medal of Honor recipient from the Vietnam War. Further remarks were given by The Honorable Jack D. Doyle, Former Monroe County Executive; The Honorable William A. Johnson Jr., Mayor of Rochester; Jerry Carr, President of Rochester Telephone; Robert Dobies, Vice President of Mobil Corporation; New York State Senator James Alesi; and the past president of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter #20, Ken Moore.
The Memorial consists of five components. The Memorial Overlook has a map of the world and the flags of America, the branches of service in the order in which they were created, and the POW/MIA flag. The Mobil Corporation Veterans Garden shows The Soldier, designed by Wayne Williams (with inspiration from the logo designed by Amie Freling), walking into a very polished black granite wall symbolizing the living veteran remaining in contact with the veteran who has passed through the wall. The Frontier Corporation Learning Center contains granite slabs, including the map of Vietnam, comparative data from other wars, the women in service block, and a list of the Korean veterans from the region who died or are missing, as a show of kindred spirit for all veterans. The Garden of Reflection is an area for people to sit and comprehend the impact of the Vietnam Era on America. The Walk of Honor, containing 280 stainless steel bollards, one for each of the 280 men killed or missing in Vietnam from our region, connects the three gardens. The bollards are on the inside of the Walk and form a serpentine line, like a patrol in Nam. On the outside of the Walk of Honor, engraved in curbed granite, is the Timeline that presents a snapshot history of the Vietnam Era. The Timeline is a resource for our community and future generations to help understand this tumultuous time in our history. Bollard sponsors are identified with a plaque on the back of each bollard. Serving as a perimeter for the patrol of the 280 bollards are Medal of Honor trees donated by Rochester Gas & Electric, the American Forest Famous and Historic Trees, and the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. Twenty-three American redbud trees commemorating the twenty-three Medal of Honor recipients from New York State form the Congressional Medal of Honor Grove.