On Memorial Day, millions remembered the sacrifice of service men and women who died in America's wars as well as veterans and their families who have and are serving in uniform. Several proud veterans of the Vietnam War are now striving to build a memorial in San Jose as a tribute to the 143 military men who died during that conflict.
The San Jose Vietnam War Memorial Foundation has been created to erect a monument in downtown San Jose. The goal is to raise $150,000 and complete the project by May 2010.
San Jose is second only to Los Angeles as a city with the most lives lost during the Vietnam War. The monument will not only honor the sacrifice of the fallen warriors, but be a reminder that our youths are often called upon to meet the challenges and make the sacrifices for all of us to live in a free country.
A number of political leaders, school districts and veterans organizations have agreed to support the drive for the memorial. The Evergreen Times supports the memorial.
The board of directors leading the effort includes veterans with impressive service records and dedication to the San Jose community. Frank Lopez, the board president, was a Marine during the Vietnam War receiving the Purple Heart and two Bronze Stars among other awards and decorations. Lopez taught for 30 years in the East Side Union High School District and continues to coach football.
Dennis Fernandez served with the 82nd Airborne in Vietnam as a squad leader, receiving awards for heroism and the Combat Infantryman's Badge. Also a school teacher at various schools, Fernandez is the head basketball coach at Evergreen Valley High School. Dennis's wife Sandra is the foundation's cheif financial officer. She was the fifth employee of eBay, Inc.
William Otterlei is the facilities officer and served in the U.S. Army's 9th Infantry division. He received two Purple Hearts for combat wounds in 1967 and has been rated with a 100 percent disability.
Those who served in Vietnam deserve this recognition and San Jose needs to make it happen.
For more information about the Vietnam War Memorial Foundation, go to www.sjwarmemorial.com
The Chamber Advocate
The San Jose Vietnam War Memorial Foundation, Inc. will erect a monument in honor and rememberance of the one hundred and forty-four "Sons of San Jose" who fought and lost their lives in the Vietnam War. The monument is also a tribute to the surviving veterans and will educate future generations of the challenges and sacrifices that were made for our country. San Jose is one of three California cities that suffered the most losses in the state, however cities such as Milpitas, and Santa Clara that endured fewer losses have already built monuments for their fallen soldiers. The foundation hopes to build the memorial in the Arena Greens located in the Guadalupe River Park across from the HP Pavilion. For more information or to contribute, visit www.sjwarmemorial.com