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Discovering the Vietnam War Memorial in Shopping Center of Houston, Texas

I live in Houston, and I have worked as a nurse. My interests include art, traveling, reading, gardening, cooking, and our wonderful pets.

Vietnam War Memorial

Vietnam War Memorial

Vietnam War Memorial

This Vietnam War Memorial is in the middle of a shopping center parking lot in Houston off of Bellaire Boulevard. The address is 11360 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, Texas 77072.

It is a touching tribute to the United States soldiers and civilians who fought and endured the sufferings of that war, fighting communism.

This Houston Metro Area, where these statues are is often referred to as “Chinatown” because it has a predominant Asian-American community whose people live and work there. Vietnamese American citizens generously funded this memorial erected in 2005.

Vietnam War

The Vietnam War was very unpopular, as well as a divisive war for those living in America. The draft was in effect back then.

Both of my brothers served in Vietnam when United States involvement accelerated in the 1960s. My brother John was in the Navy, and my brother Jim was in the Army. The reception for returning veterans was hardly welcoming. It was very hurtful for those who had served.

Anti-war protests kept escalating in the United States, particularly after the Tet Offensive in 1968. Despite firepower and might of the United States and our allies, that particular battle was a turning point. Americans thought that the end of the war was in sight.

After the Tet Offensive, the tide turned, and protests against the war became the subject matter for the nightly news. It also ended any thoughts of President Lyndon Johnson running for the 2nd term of office. Richard Nixon would become President of the United States.

The capture of Saigon by the North Vietnamese was the dramatic end to the war on April 30, 1975. I still remember viewing television, which portrayed U.S. helicopters rescuing some last-minute evacuees from rooftops as that long drawn out war came to a climactic end.

U.S. casualties numbered 58,220, with 1,626 missing in action, according to Wikipedia. According to the same source, Vietnamese soldiers and civilian losses totaled anywhere from an estimated 966,000 to 3.8 million! Of course, those numbers do not account for everyone who sustained injuries. Many people’s lives were changed forever after that war, as in all conflicts.

Two Distinct Monuments

The monument featuring a traditionally dressed Vietnamese family in the same parking lot honors those who battled for the Republic of (South) Vietnam against communism. Houston is now the home for a massive community of Vietnamese American families.

One of the largest populations of military veterans also calls Houston home. So these beautifully detailed statues should exist in harmony with one another.

Each of the two monuments has space in the parking lot apart, yet glimpses of them are within view from one to the other. The three flags flown represent the United States, Vietnam, and Texas.

Public Art Exhibit

Open the Door was a collaborative public art exhibit displayed in several places all across the Houston area. One of those painted doors is here. We are starting to spot them in other sites as well, and they are always a pleasant surprise. Several of them were in the beautiful Oyster Creek Park in Sugar Land when my husband and I first visited that park.

Part of what is written describing this artful door is as follows:

“Located next to a War Memorial, this piece of public art is also an interactive platform.

The Talking Door stems from the idea that the image of a door can represent every new experience in life. When a “door” is composed of people’s written words in various languages, it becomes a meeting place for people’s words and their meanings. And it echoes the encounters of human experiences in all languages.

The Talking Door is derived from the Echoes of Language Project, for which the artist Yu-Ru Huang has collected people’s words of personal significance and arranged them into objects that carry a metaphoric implication.

Special thanks to Texas State Representative Herbert Vo for installing the Talking Door onto the current site in 2015.”

Volunteer Military in the U.S.

The different branches of our military now consist of volunteers. Those who currently volunteer for military service only constitute about 1% of our total population. They are the people who help protect us against enemies who would like to destroy the freedoms we all enjoy. They give hope to those around the world who seek freedom. May we always honor their service.

References:

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Peggy Woods

Comments

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 03, 2020:

Hi FlourishAnyway,

We have one of the most diverse cities in the nation and have many people from around the world who have settled here.

FlourishAnyway from USA on April 03, 2020:

Your brothers deserve our sincere thanks for their service. This is a poignant memorial and I find it’s placement near the states of Vietnam people fitting since they are who were benefitted by the bravery. Any idea why so many gravitated to Houston?

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 01, 2020:

Hi Rajan,

History is always more clear when looking in the rear view mirror. Thanks for your comment regarding this Vietnam war memorial.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 01, 2020:

Hi Richard,

I am glad that I could help with the photo thumbnails. I am currently transferring posts from my website to HP. That accounts for the frequency.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 01, 2020:

Hi MG Singh,

You are correct in what you wrote. There were also all kinds of anti-war demonstrations during the Vietnam war. It made it doubly hard on our soldiers serving at the time, much less when they came back home.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on April 01, 2020:

Millions of lives were lost in this war which to date is subject of discussion whether what the USA did was correct or not. That the returning war veterans were not heartily welcomed is maybe understandable although they were just doing their duty. Thanks for sharing information about the Vietnam war memorial. I like the concept of the talking door.

Richard from Texas on April 01, 2020:

Peggy, thanks for the photo tip. I know the area you’re referring to for photos. I guess I’ve just overlooked the choice for thumbnails.

BTW, you’re one of the more prolific writers I’m following. I think you write faster than I read! Are you involved in a daily article challenge or is this you’re normal?

Whichever, when I get this (HubPages) thing figured out, I’m going to use you my model. You are a terrific writer!

Thanks, Richard

MG Singh emge from Singapore on April 01, 2020:

Thank you Peggy, I am told there was an anti-war feeling in the US after the war ended and Nixon made overtures to China. This is sad because I have studied the war and one reason was the restrictions put by Congress on the air operations. If the military had been given a free hand the result would have been different. About the anti-war agitators, I have no time.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 31, 2020:

Hi MG Singh,

Soldiers in any war are often pawns in a political decision made by a few people at the top of government. They are to be lauded for their service to the country and not blamed as many of the returning U.S. soldiers were after the Vietnam war ended. I appreciate your comment.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on March 31, 2020:

The Vietnam war was a sad episode in the history of America. As a man from the military, I am absolutely delighted that a war memorial dedicated to the soldiers who fought in this thankless war has been commissioned for posterity. The soldier deserves to be honored and sometimes many people forget that the soldier gives his life so that others may live.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 31, 2020:

Hi Richard,

I can understand why your mother was happy that you did not have to be drafted.

It is easy to make thumbnails. When you go to the photo capsule you have a choice of no border, border or thumbnails. If you do nothing, it will automatically be the no border choice. Just open a photo capsule and look to the upper left hand side. You should see the choices there. Click on the one you want to use. Best wishes!

Richard from Texas on March 31, 2020:

Another fascinating article. I was on the verge of being drafted at age 18, when suddenly the draft was abolished. My mother was very happy.

On an instructional note, I love the way you add thumbnails to your articles. Would you mind telling me how or where I can go to learn how to do that?

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on March 31, 2020:

I don't know what I was thinking Peggy, but I guess about my experience in Washington DC. I saw all the pictures of sculptures, but didn't put that in my comment. They are excellent sculptures and I think it is a great place to visit.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 31, 2020:

Hi Dora,

I thought it was nice showing not only soldiers but also a Vietnamese family. Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 31, 2020:

Hi Ruby,

We must always thank our men and women who are in service to our country for our benefit. They often sacrifice so much for our freedoms. Thanks for your comment.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on March 31, 2020:

The monuments as well as your interesting story-telling skill arouse beautiful sentiments, even though some may have differing views. Both Americans and Vietnamese deserve the tribute. Thanks for the details.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on March 31, 2020:

This is a great tribute to our service men/women who fight wars to keep us free. God Bless them. The history surrounding the Vietnam war was interesting to read. The memorial is beautiful. Thank you again for sharing the many sites in Houston.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 31, 2020:

Hi Bill,

The location is unique, I agree. Many people do get to view it, however, where they may or may not drive to a park to see a memorial. Most other memorials in our area are in parks.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 31, 2020:

Hi Pamela,

These are sculptures and not a wall. We once had a traveling Vietnam Wall that was on display in Houston for a time. Much like you, it moved me to tears.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on March 31, 2020:

What an interesting location for a Vietnam Memorial, in a shopping center parking lot of all places. I suppose it guarantees that they get lots of visitors. It's nice that the Vietnamese community funded the project. Thanks for sharing.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on March 31, 2020:

I didn't know that had a Vietnam Wall Memorial in Houston. I visited the one in Washington and it broke my heart. I went to school with some of the names on that wall and my husband served.

I must say I was surprised that the Vietnamese Americans funded that wall. It is really nice and I think this is a wonderful memorial.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 31, 2020:

Hi Bill,

Since the Vietnamese Americans were the ones who funded this project, I guess they wanted it near where they live, shop, and dine. One thing is sure. Many people get to view it in this busy shopping center.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on March 31, 2020:

What an odd place for a memorial. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad they have a Vietnam Memorial; but it just seems like a weird choice of locations.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 30, 2020:

Hi Liz,

The war in Vietnam spurred all kinds of protests over here, and the returning soldiers who served got much of the brunt of it when they returned. The draft was in effect at that time, so many of the young people serving did not have a choice to serve as they do today. It was not the best of times for many reasons in that era.

Liz Westwood from UK on March 30, 2020:

It is important to remember those who have given their lives serving their country. This is a striking memorial. Thank you for explaining some of the history and also your personal link.