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The Memorial of commonwealth to honor Southwest Asia War veterans is to be constructed in the city of Worcester by the Desert Calm Committee, Inc. and will be the official state monument for the veterans of the Southwest Asia War. Designated in 1990.
Dedicated in June 2002, it is located on Skyline Drive at Green Hill Park in Worcester. The 4-acre location includes a pond, walking paths and the Memorial. A place to provide a dignified, quiet, natural location for reflection and learning. The Memorial is designed in three sections called places. These consist of the PLACE OF FLAGS, PLACE OF WORDS and PLACE OF NAMES. The PLACE OF WORDS shows text from letters written home by some of the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines who died in Vietnam. The PLACE OF NAMES proclaims in stone the name of each and every Massachusetts resident who died in combat or as a result of wounds received while in action in Vietnam.
Although this Memorial especially honors and remembers the service and sacrifice of those from Massachusetts who gave their lives and freedom in Vietnam, it is dedicated to all those from the Commonwealth who served their country between 1955 and 1975.
The Massachusetts Vietnam Veterans Memorial Committee (MVVMC) was established in 1998 to build the Commonwealth's statewide tribute to the 1,536
men and one woman who rendered the ultimate sacrifice during the Vietnam War, and the 235,000 Bay State veterans of that conflict who still survived.
This effort began in the 1980s, with the formation of the Massachusetts Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund in Boston. Their goal was to construct a memorial at the Charlestown Navy Yard to those who served in Vietnam, and dedicate it in September, 1988.
When this did not occur, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Trust was formed in Worcester to continue the process. Among the accomplishments of this group was the designation of Worcester's Green Hill Park as the site of the memorial, given its central location within the Commonwealth; and the selection of the Belmont architectural firm of Harby, Rogers and Catanzaro to execute a plan for the memorial's design and construction.
When private fundraising efforts by the Trust failed to yield the necessary capital to build the memorial, the MVVMC was formed and stepped in to complete this necessary process. The Committee relied on four men to realize the memorial's financial goal - Thomas Kelley, the state's Commissioner of Veterans' Services; State Senators Robert Bernstein and Matthew Amorello; and State Representative William Glodis. These men requested and secured funding from the Massachusetts Legislature in the amount of $1.4 million to get the job done.
Once this vital funding was approved, the MVVMC turned the construction project over to then-Parks Commissioner Michael V. O'Brien, who supervised the completion of the memorial and delivered it to the MVVMC for dedication - on time and under-budget - on June 9, 2002.
Today, the Massachusetts Vietnam Veterans Memorial is comprised of a Place of Flags, a Place of Words, a Place of Names and a War Dogs Monument. These segments of the memorial are detailed elsewhere on this site.
The law designating official Massachusetts state memorial of commonwealth to honor Southwest Asia War veterans is found in the General Laws of Massachusetts, Part 1, Title 1, Chapter 2, Section 37
CHAPTER 2. ARMS, GREAT SEAL AND OTHER EMBLEMS OF THE COMMONWEALTH
Section 37 Memorial of commonwealth to honor Southwest Asia War veterans
Section 37. The memorial to be constructed in the city of Worcester by the Desert Calm Committee, Inc. shall be the official state monument for the veterans of the Southwest Asia War.