A Message From
The Mississippi Vietnam Veterans Memorial Committee

Today, you see before you a memorial made possible
through the generous efforts of a multitude of individual
forces armed with a collective vision. Although more than
eight years in the making, to the time of itís dedication
on May 31, 1997, when the pages of history are reviewed,
it will be noted how Mississippians paid tribute to those
who served and those who died during a most difficult time
in our nation 's history.

The Mississippi Vietnam Veterans Memorial Committee

There is none other like it in all of the United States,
nor will you find it replicated anywhere in the world.
We have tried to build more than just a memorial. We have
built a healing, teaching, living legacy. Families and
Vietnam Veterans will come here to heal. Children will stand
and seek understanding. If we are to learn, if we are to
teach those that travel after us, then the lessons of the
past must always be before us.

The passage of time has revealed much about U.S. involvement
in the Vietnam War. And, America has learned. Here, we join
together, recognizing the great efforts you made during that
noble struggle. The epitaph of our casualties and the legacy
of our 68,000 living Vietnam Veterans, is that our nation is
made better because of your sacrifices, courage, valor and

It is our hope to express the enduring gratitude of the
people of the great State of Mississippi-to all who took part
in that noble conflict under the flag of the United States-
to those who survived, no less than those who paid the
supreme sacrifice.

We are proud to have been a part of this noble project and
to see the culmination in this magnificent memorial.

For further information, please contact:

Miss Vietnam Veterans Memorial Committee, Inc.
P. O. Box 721
Biloxi, MS 39533-0721
Larry L. Lucas
Chairman, Names & Pictures Committee
15123 Cedar Springs Dr
Biloxi, MS 39532
Home: (228) 392-7190
Cell: (228) 806-9479



Mississippi Vietnam Veterans Memorial

The genesis of a Mississippi Vietnam Veterans Memorial
began in August 1985. A group of Vietnamese Americans, who
wanted to find an appropriate way to show their appreciation
to Mississippians who served in that noble struggle to keep
Vietnam a free country, presented the idea to Mr. Roy Martin
and to the staff of the Biloxi Vets Center.

In January 1986, a joint meeting of the Gulf Coast
Vietnam Veterans Association and the Vietnamese Vietnam
Veterans was held. The meeting resulted in a decision to
build a memorial. The idea was presented to then Mayor
Gerald Blessey of Biloxi, a former Vietnam Veteran.

In November 1987, staff of the Biloxi Vet Center,
members of the Gulf Coast Veterans Association and members
of the Gulf Coast Vietnamese community visited the "Moving
Wall" while if was on display in New Orleans, Louisiana.
After visiting the Moving Wall, a decision was made to
bring the Moving Wall to the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

For seven days in June 1988 over 30,000 people visited
the Moving Wall when it was on display at Biloxi's Point
Cadet. It became apparent that there was, in fact, a need
for a permanent Mississippi Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

In early November 1988, the MISSISSIPPI VIETNAM VETERANS
was formed and incorporated for the specific purpose of
building a Mississippi Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

On November 7, 1988, a parcel of land designated for the
memorial site was conveyed to the Memorial Committee by the
City of Biloxi. On this same day, Committee members met with
the Dean and other faculty members of the Mississippi State
University School of Architecture to discuss methods of
generating designs for the Memorial.

In December 1988, the Memorial Committee requested the
assistance of the Mississippi State University School of
Architecture in seeking designs that would adequately
express the themes the Memorial Committee felt should be
present in the Memorial.

In January 1989, the junior level architectural students
presented the Memorial Committee with "Nine Proposals for
Consideration" which consisted of nine models, and a final
design competition was launched using the models to illustrate
the ideas of the Memorial Committee. The Vietnamese community
also presented its design ideas to the Memorial Committee in
the form of a model for consideration.

On March 22, 1989, the Mississippi Legislature enacted a
law authorizing counties and municipalities to make
contributions to the Mississippi Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Committee, Inc.(a non-profit corporation) fur the purpose
of constructing a Mississippi Vietnam Veterans Memorial on
the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Both the House and the Senate
introduced versions of the proposed law and on March 25,
1989, the governor signed a compromise version of
the bill into law! The first $25,000.00 was contributed to
the Memorial Fund by the City of Biloxi. The next major
contribution came from Mr. S. Patrick Kennedy, Continental
Tax Corporation, BlueSprings, Missouri. His significant and
generous contribution of$56,000 was earmarked for
administrative costs.

Flags of the Allied Nations who fought in Vietnam
(Australia, South Korea, New Zealand, Thailand and South
Vietnam) were dedicated and flown at the proposed site
at Point Cadet in Biloxi on Memorial Day, 1989. Before
the year was over however, several unexpected obstacles
arose regarding the proposed site in Biloxi. Primarily,
the land conveyed was not large enough to accommodate the
winning design. Therefore, a decision was made to look for
a new site for the Memorial.

After months of meeting with Mayors and other city
officials along the Gulf Coast, three locations met the
criteria for the Memorial, although one site was favored
over all others. An agreement was made between the Mayor
and City Council of the City of Ocean Springs, and the
Mississippi Vietnam Veterans Memorial Committee, to build
the Memorial on more than four acres of property located
on the grounds of the Ocean Springs Civic Center located
on Highway 90 East, on the northeast side of the city. In
May 1994, the agreement was signed by both parties.

In August 1994, a kickoff construction campaign was
launched. The event was held at the Memorial site with
the Honorable Kirk Fordice, Governor of Mississippi and
Honorary Chairman of the MWVMC as the special guest speaker.

On December 28, 1994, a formal proposal was submitted
to the Chairmen of the Senate and House Appropriations
Committees for $1.5 million contribution from the State
of Mississippi towards the development and construction of
the Memorial. Although Senate Bill 2640 and House Bill 1703
were both introduced and passed unanimously in February
1995, House Bill 1703 was amended in March 1995 and the
$1.5 million contribution was split between the MWMC and
the War Memorial Commission, each receiving $750,000.00.

A groundbreaking was conducted and celebrated on May 29,
1995, with more than a thousand individuals attending this
memorable occasion. The Honorable Kirk Fordice was the
featured speaker. Other guest speakers included U.S.
Congressman Gene Taylor, State Senator Tommy Gollott,
State Representative Tom King and Ocean Springs Mayor
Kevin Alves.

Soon after this joyous occasion, soil samples and surveys
were completed. Seabeesfrom the Gulfport Naval Construction
Battalion did the initial site preparation by removing tons
of concrete in the parking area and driveway where the
Memorial would be located.

More than eight years after its conception, on the 5th
day of December, 1996, actual construction of the
Mississippi Vietnam Veterans Memorial began.




The Vietnam War was a unique experience in the history
of wars involving the United States. It was a unique war
because, for the first time, we won all of the major battles,
but we lost the war. It was unique because, for the first
time in our nation's proud history, the people at home did
not fully support those who were fighting and dying in a
faraway place. It lacked the resolve of the people. It was
unique because, for the first time, the warrior who served
was blamed, criticized, and scorned for the things that were
wrong with the war and the division of the nation it caused.
It certainly follows that this unique war produced a unique
brand of veteran.

The only common bond that the Vietnam Veteran shares with
their fellow veterans of Korea, World War II and World War I
is the shared horror of war and challenge of combat.

This Memorial should contain the names, ages, and the
three-dimensional representation of the faces of those
from Mississippi who made the supreme sacrifice so as to
teach our youth that being free Americans has a price that
must be periodically paid in blood, and nothing will more
eloquently illustrate the sacrifices made than a roll call
of honor imprinted for all time on the Memorial.

The Memorial must also teach. It must teach pride in
America and pride in service to one's country. Certainly,
the Memorial must make a statement to honor those who fell
and the families who waited. Most of all, this Memorial,
whose time is now, must say "thank you" to all who served
and waited.

This Memorial must be a place where veterans and families
of veterans will be able to visit and use as a means of
telling their story of Vietnam. It should prompt veterans
and their families to tell of, not only the sacrifices, but
of the nobility of the bonding of the men and women.

It must also prompt the teaching of what should be the
lesson of Vietnam. That never again should America send
its investment in the future off to die on battlefields
without the resolve and commitment of the people.

With those concepts established, a Design Competition was
held on November 6, 1989. The competition was sponsored by
the Mississippi Chapter of American Institute of Architecture,
The Mississippi Chapter of American Society of Landscape
Architects and the MVVMC. The award winning design was from
the architectural team of Bud Hollomon and Mark S. Vaughan.
It was unveiled in the rotunda of the State Capitol on
June 5, 1990.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Committee listed the
following design considerations to be completed in two
phases of construction:


Construction of the Memorial, which must include the
following design considerations:

A connection between land, sea and air as a representation
of all U.S. armed services.
A tribute to the Allied Forces who servd in the Vietnam Conflict.
Photographs and names of all Mississippians who were killed
in action in Vietnam.
Special recognition to those who are still unaccounted for-
Mississippi POW/MIAs.


A tribute to the Vietnamese people and their struggle to
preserve their country.
A tribute to the sacrifices of widows and orphans.
A tribute to Mississippi 's 68,000 living Vietnam Veterans.
Construction of a museum.


The foundation consists of driven concrete piles under
concrete reinforced pier caps under the Memorial walls.
There will also be additional driven concrete piles under
the dam at the wet end of the proposed lake.

Precast concrete panels, with limestone finish work
including ceremonial front and coping.

The photographic panels are 12 1/2" x 14" laser-etched
black granite with a protective coating. The etchings are
epoxy grouted into place along opposing walls.

The granite slabs are polished and cut black absolute
granite with carved/sandblasted letters and text.
A single granite pedestal will be placed in the west
berm for ceremonial occasions.

The panels, will be cut and finished absolute black granite
with carved text. These panels contain quotes at the entrance
points, the name stones in the ground within the memorial,
and the engraved seat markers in the ceremonial area.

The benches along the Memorial walls are constructed in two
precast concrete panels.