Honoring Our Vietnam Veterans and Their Families

Mayor of Tulsa

CHAIR OF HONOR: Jeff Nickler, general manager of the BOK Center, left, and Mayor Bartlett unveil the POW/MIA Chair of Honor to serve as a reminder of those still missing or captured. The dedication ceremomy was held at the BOK Center in February.

Courtesy photo

In Washington, D.C., there are numerous memorials, museums and monuments to American history. Most of these locations are grand examples of Classical and Neoclassical architecture, featuring high ceilings, tall columns and marble statues. However, there’s a different kind of memorial in our nation’s capital.

Just to the north of the Lincoln Memorial stands the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It is a symbol of recognition to the men and women who served and sacrificed their lives in the Vietnam War. It is simple in design but has a powerful impact: two black granite walls, engraved in chronological order with the names of the men and women who gave their lives in service to the United States.

The Vietnam War shaped an entire generation of Americans and continues to influence our national policies today. One of the lessons of the Vietnam War is the need to recognize and honor our veterans. At the time these veterans came home, they were not properly thanked or honored.

Those who serve should be recognized and appreciated for their service, and as a grateful nation we have an obligation to do so.

Last month, I was honored to attend a special recognition ceremony for Vietnam veterans at our local . As your Mayor, I am inspired by the heroes who fought for our freedom and humbled by those missing in action, held prisoner of war, and the wounded who still carry the scars of war, both seen and unseen.

This past February, I was also honored to attend the dedication ceremony for a /MIA Chair of Honor at the Center. The /MIA Chair of Honor Program reminds us of those still missing or captured. The chair is to remain perpetually empty to help people remember that even though our soldiers are not here, there is still a space for them. This is the second Chair of Honor in Tulsa. The first Chair of Honor is located at ONEOK Field. So the next time you attend a baseball game there, or an event at the Center, please take a moment to remember those missing or held captive.

As a city, I hope you’ll join me in honoring those who answered the call to service in Vietnam as well as their families who carried on here at home. To quote President Calvin Coolidge, “The nation which forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten.”

Updated 03-28-2016

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