Vietnam War Markers and Memorials
A number of markers and memorials to Arkansans who served and lost their lives in the Vietnam War are located in communities throughout the state. Vietnam veterans are also memorialized on a number of other monuments that recognize service members from other wars. Most monuments are located at county courthouses or other public spaces. Funding for these monuments came from a variety of sources, with the placement of the monuments typically organized by local citizens and members of various veterans’ organizations.
The Arkansas Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial is located on the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Dedicated on March 7, 1987, by retired U.S. Army general William Westmoreland, the memorial includes a circular wall listing each of the 662 service members from Arkansas who are listed as killed or missing in action. Designed by John Deering, the memorial also includes a statue (dedicated later that year on November 11, 1987) of an infantryman standing on a base inscribed with the five branches of the military. Funding for the project came from $150,000 in private funds, matched by $150,000 provided by the Arkansas General Assembly in 1983.
Markers elsewhere in the state include the Vietnam War Memorial located in at the Sebastian County Courthouse in Fort Smith, which honors veterans from that county and the twenty-four men who died in the war. It was dedicated on December 6, 1992. The memorial located at the Conway County Courthouse in Morrilton honors all veterans from the Vietnam War era. Listing the names of the two Conway County men killed in the war, the monument consists of a bronze tablet mounted on a stone cut into the shape of the county.
The Logan County monument, located at the courthouse in Paris, is flanked by a monument honoring local National Guardsmen who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and a monument listing those killed in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and Desert Storm. The Vietnam memorial lists the names of ten Logan County men killed in the war and is topped with an engraving of three Vietnam-era American service members.
Located at the Crawford County Courthouse in Van Buren, a granite monument lists the names of sixteen service members from the county who lost their lives in the war. Dedicated on May 30, 1987, the monument is topped with an engraving similar to the one on the Logan County monument.
The White County monument is located on the grounds of the county courthouse in Searcy. It lists the names of thirteen service members killed in action on the left panel, while the right panel gives the names of three men listed as missing in action or prisoners of war. A center panel includes a map of Vietnam and the seals of the five branches of the military along with the Seabees. Funded by donations from the citizens of White County, the memorial was placed by the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 305. The monument was dedicated on May 29, 1989.
Located on the grounds of the county courthouse in Clinton, the Van Buren County Vietnam memorial lists the names of three service members who died in the conflict. Located on the grounds of the city airport in Rogers (Benton County), a memorial honors the memory of all veterans from the conflict and includes displays of aircraft used by American forces during the war. There are also Vietnam War memorials in Bella Vista (Benton County) and in Drew County.
One marker in the state is located on a former military base. Listing the names of nine men lost in a B-52 bomber over North Vietnam in 1972, the marker is located on the grounds of the former Eaker Air Force Base near Blytheville (Mississippi County). The men served with the Ninety-Seventh Bombardment Wing. Also located in Blytheville on the grounds of the Mississippi County Courthouse, a monument lists the names of twenty-seven local service members killed in the conflict.
For additional information:
American Memorials Directory. http://www.americanmemorialsdirectory.com/arkansas.html (accessed February 10, 2020).
Davis-Baltz, Sandy. “The Making of a Monument: Social Implications of Arkansas Case Studies.” PhD diss., Arkansas State University, 2005.
The Historical Marker Database. https://www.hmdb.org/ (accessed February 10, 2020).
The National War Memorial Registry. https://www.nationalwarmemorialregistry.org/joomla/browse-memorials/cities/arkansas (accessed February 10, 2020).
Henderson State University
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