The state of Utah has given final approval and donated land for a memorial to the state's men killed in the Vietnam war to be located on the west Capitol grounds.
Groundbreaking is set for July 4 and dedication of the $231,000 monument on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. The committee is soliciting support from Utah's veterans and businesses."As a group of Vietnam era veterans, we feel a heavy responsibility to start healing the wounds of those men and women who gave so much and received so little in return," said Ted L. Livingston, chairman of the board of trustees.
Livingston said the group's goal is to raise a memorial as a public statement of gratitude for the thousands who served in the Vietnam war and as a memorial for the 373 Utahns who died in the war, from 1963 to 1972.
The circular memorial will be set in the hillside directly west of the Capitol building and south of the west entrance sidewalk and will be approximately 60 feet in diameter, with a heroic-sized 8-foot bronze statue of an infantryman on a base of cast stone 9 feet in diameter. The base will also be a planter with seats. The statue will face away from the four polished black marble slates with the names of Utah's Vietnam war dead inscribed on them.
The statue, sculpted by former Salt Lake resident and Marine Corps veteran Clyde Ross Morgan, is titled, "But Not Forgotten." It depicts a young soldier returning from battle carrying a fallen friend's rifle. Morgan said the expression on his face mixes bewilderment with determination to do the job his country sent him to do, a look often called the "thousand-year stare."
The monument, designed by Bob Frazier of the architectural firm of Allred Soffe & Tuttle, will be accessible by handicapped people.
"It will be constructed of permanent-type materials, compatible with the Capitol building," Frazier said. "The obituary plaques will be made of extremely fine, polished black marble to match the Washington, D.C., monument.
"These guys were walking among us just a short time ago, and they were part of a very controversial issue," Frazier said.
The monument will be cared for with a perpetual endowment fund so it will be kept in top shape, he said.
"We have been working with the veterans for some time on this. We think we have a monument that will be a great asset to not only the veterans, but also to the Capitol grounds and state," Frazier said.
It took almost a year to get the site approved by the state, Livingston said.