Ladas Hoopes McNeill

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Nancy Beeman Chronicles The Men From Muskegon County We Lost in Vietnam

I am the son of a Vietnam Vet.  I am not from a family that really expected a lot of attention for my dad's service, when he got out...he came home, went to work and began raising a family.  It's not a topic we grew up discussing a lot, except for the times we'd get into the attic and bust out the slide projector to see pictures of his tours of duty...and quite often, those pictures are only from the places he went where there wasn't much fighting going on.



Today still, it's kind of just there.  There's never been a moment where he's opened up about all he saw and did.  He was a helmsmen of an LST class ship that was turned into a repair ship, so thankfully he wasn't on the ground like some were.  He also spent time as a radio operator on a ship which I think might explain some why he was so defensive of me in my early days of wanting to be on the radio.  I know however, that the memories are still there for him.  Years ago, he and I walked the LST 393 together.  He knew every single door.  He knew where everything was located, who slept where...where the galley and mess hall was... it was really the closest I ever got him to tell the story.  It's ok with me if he doesn't he's from the generation that doesn't talk much about such things.

He came home, but there were so many who didn't.  As time has gone on, more and more attention is shifting away from the WWII Vets, who we're loosing at a very fast pace, to guys my dad's age.  How do we remember those who didn't come home, and how do we change the way those who did come home from Vietnam, to the jeers and taunts we have seen so much of, to more of a gratitude filled honor.
Artists Rendering of New Memorial

Well, like a lot of things, all it takes is one person.  Meet Nancy Beeman.  Nancy's husband served in Vietnam, and her son in Desert Storm.  Nancy curates the Vietnam Memorial area on board the LST 393 and she has spent a lot of time getting to know the history of the young men from Muskegon County who were lost in Vietnam.  In fact, she's taken all that knowledge and put it into a DVD that shows you who we lost and what their military career was.  Behind us in the video, you'll see some of their faces, but the DVD has the whole story of them.

Nancy is selling copies of the DVD to raise a few bucks, about $10,000 in fact to make an addition to the "Final Approach" memorial out on the corner of Seaway Drive and Old Grand Haven Road.  She's taking mail orders for the moment, you'll find the address below, but for now, spend a few minutes with Nancy and I and hear why she embarked on the project and how she's looking for a hand to get the memorial built for those who have served in the "modern era" of Desert Storm until now.



All it takes is one person to start a movement.  I hope you could see and hear the dedication in Nancy's voice to the memory of our fallen, some of which only made it a day on the ground in Vietnam.  Her dedication and passion are real and this proposed monument will be an amazing addition to the Final Approach memorial.  I was compelled enough to offer Nancy a hand.  She's been looking for a way to get these DVD's out and continue the funding of the memorial, and since she doesn't have Ebay....well, I do.  In Muskegon, stop down to the LST 393 Gift shop for a copy for $20.  If you'd like to order a copy online, click on the photo of the DVD below and order a copy.  The DVD is $20 and we'll go $5 for shipping and handling.  Every cent will go to the memorial fund.  If you'd like to send a donation to Nancy or order a copy of the DVD by mail, please do so at the following address.  Vietnam Veterans PO Box 1637, Muskegon MI, 49443



Click Here to Purchase a DVD from My Ebay Store

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1 comment:

  1. Nancy is a tireless advocate for Vietnam veterans. I am so proud of all the work she has accomplished. Go Nancy!

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