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Remembering and Reliving

May 22nd, 2009 by Mike Vasilinda

Since 1984, a statute of three Vietnam soldiers on the National Mall in
Washington has honored the soldiers who fought in Vietnam. As Mike
Vasilinda tells us, the only commissioned replica of the statute is in
north Florida, where it pays tribute to the men and women from the South
who fought in Southeast Asia.

It was a familiar newsreel scene. Small groups of young soldiers walking
through the jungles of Vietnam, and dying in battle.

In a state park in Apalachicola, a city know for its oysters, sits the
only replica of the Three Servicemen Statute in existence. A Vietnam
veteran from here and Jan Scruggs, the man behind the Vietnam wall, made
it possible.

Little towns like this are the towns that have always provided the
people who fight in our nations wars, Scruggs said.

A plaque on the site quotes the sculptor Frederick Hart.

They wear the uniform and carry the equipment of war; they are young.
The contrast between the innocence of their youth and the weapons of war
underscores the poignancy of their sacrifice.

Al Mirabella remembers the era well, and how so many young died.

You had two choices when you graduated from high school,” Mirabella said. “You were
either going to be drafted when you graduated or you were going to college.

The public never did accept Vietnam…so for those who served, Mirabella
says this statue is one way of acknowledging the sacrifices.

Its a way of letting the people know, to say thank you to them for
their service in Vietnam,” Mirabella said. “During the dedication, we had so many people
who came up and said thank you, because nobody ever said thank you to me.

The statute was paid for entirely by private donations.

Residents in North Florida raised more than a quarter
million dollars for the statute.

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