A total of 2,654 names.
That’s the number of Michigan men and women who were killed in action during the years of the Vietnam War 1955 to 1975. The Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 154 set up the Michigan Vietnam Traveling Memorial, a tribute to soldiers from Michigan. The traveling memorial are the names etched on five-five foot panels spanning about 25 feet.
On Aug. 3, the traveling memorial will be on display during Good Times in Goodrich.
“Almost every town or village throughout our state was affected by the Vietnam War in some way,” said Mike Schneider, Traveling Vietnam Memorial Chairman. “Michigan was seventh in casualties nationwide. This memorial pays tribute to those guys and women who gave their lives.”
In 2005 Staff Sgt Kurt Damrow, of the 127th Wing of the Michigan Air National Guard, created the memorial in memory of Navy GMG3 Oliver Damrow of Kinde, Mich. Damrow was killed in action during his second tour of duty in Vietnam.
“Often visitors to the memorial comment they had no idea so many from Michigan were killed,” he said. “And these were just boys.”
Of 52,220 casualties in the Vietnam War, 35,186 were just 18-21 years old.
Unique to the display are several notebooks that include pictures and other information about the soldiers, bios and pictures.
“There are now less than 100 individuals on the memorial for which photos are still being sought,” he said. “We need a face for all the names, unfortunately it’s getting more difficult all the time to find them.”