The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation is celebrating the Holiday Season with a new display in our main lobby. We have partnered with the Shrewsbury, Monmouth County, and Middletown Daughters of the Revolution in two themed trees. The Middletown DAR had the theme of patriotism. The names on that tree are all Revolutionary War Patriots. They represent all the ancestors of our chapter members and many local men from Middletown, Holmdel, Marlboro, and Matawan, including Alexander Clark, who was killed in action in the Battle of Navesink. The Shrewsbury, Monmouth County DAR was tasked with celebrating peace with the theme of “White Christmas.’ Taking the theme from Bing Crosby’s White Christmas, which signaled the American Evacuation from Vietnam in 1975. We are excited that this was a multi-generational project led by the Junior Members of the DAR of Shrewsbury, Monmouth County.
Our Friends in the Vietnamese Community were also invited to participate. Their theme is in the colors of South Vietnam, red and yellow, and they celebrate the various community organizations that commemorate the service of our South Vietnamese Allies and remember and honor all the service members who served in Vietnam. These organizations span the tri-state area and are continued partners in celebrating their often untold history.
The Vietnam Veteran of America State Chapter donated the wreath. It recognizes all five branches of the military which served in Vietnam; Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. It also honors the Prisoners of War and the Missing Action. This stunning display of American Patriotism would not have been possible without the loving support of Margaret Wojcieowicz and Dennis Beauregard.
The focal point of the lobby is our display which features the nine-foot tree with a dog tag for each of the names etched on Our Memorial. The idea was inspired by the National Veteran Art Museum, which has all the dog tags from the entire war. Our tree features the 1,562 men and one woman from New Jersey who paid the ultimate price during the war. Each individual dog tag includes the servicemember’s name, town, the branch of service, and date of causality. This breathtaking display is intended to remind viewers of the young men and one woman who didn’t return and celebrate Christmas with their families. This undertaking could not have been possible without the generosity of My Dog Tags. com, which supports various military groups, including ours, with sponsorships.
We are incredibly excited to continue our Christmas Traditions through our two chairpeople, Keri A. Giannotti, the Museum Educator, and Rick Amsterdam, one of our Vietnam Veteran Volunteers. We are carrying on the spirit of our beloved Mr. Christmas himself, Dan O’Leary. During the pandemic, Dan insisted that we celebrated the holidays with our outdoor display under the Huey and organized a decorating event for our volunteers. In the months of separation, this was a much-needed event that celebrated our volunteers’ camaraderie. We are delighted to share the holiday spirit with all as we honor those who we lost. Please come and visit the NJVVMF to see this display.