The Mendocino County Museum will host the unveiling and dedication ceremony of the Mendocino County Fallen Vietnam War Veterans memorial at 2 p.m. on Veterans Day, Wednesday, November 11. The public is invited to attend and families of the veterans will be present. The Museum will be open free of charge during its regular hours of 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. in honor of the occasion; visitors can view personal effects and photos of the servicemen who died. The schedule of activities includes the reading of names and hometowns of the 22 Mendocino County servicemen who lost their lives during that war and will be the first time these 22 residents have been honored as a group.
This memorial was initiated by Willits resident Dennis Miner, who served for 20 years in the military and retired as a Major. While he was not sent to Vietnam, he felt connected to and curious about the servicemen in this area who had fought there, many of whose families he knew. With the 50th anniversary of American involvement in the war approaching, Miner decided it was more than time to tell their stories. He collaborated with veterans' groups and the Mendocino County Museum to produce testimony and photos which he collected in a booklet that will be available at the memorial service; this research also extends the "Veterans History: Personal" exhibit that is on permanent display at the Museum. Miner spearheaded the project to create the Memorial, approving design plans, scouting locations and gaining endorsements from the Willits City Council and, with the support of Museum Director Alison Glassey, from the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors.
Miner states, "This event will not seek to make any statement about the correctness of the war. It will however, honor those who have sacrificed and recognize those who have suffered in their loss. Our goal is to honor, heal and to remember."
All veterans will be recognized for their service at this memorial. There will be music, outreach for veterans, a receiving line where special guests will meet and greet attendees, and refreshments inside the Museum.
The Mendocino County Museum is at 400 East Commercial Street in Willits and online at MendocinoMuseum.org. Contact the Museum for general questions at 459-2736 and for seating questions, Dennis Miner at 472-8417.