Vietnam War Memorial, Garfield Park, North Topeka, KS, USA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Marine Biologist
N 39° 04.645 W 095° 39.588
15S E 269917 N 4328735
Quick Description: This Vietnam War Memorial in Garfield Park was dedicated in memory of 12 men from North Topeka who died in the Vietnam War.
Location: Kansas, United States
Date Posted: 8/26/2011 5:15:56 PM
Waymark Code: WMCDWB
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member HANSENNI
Views: 14

Long Description:

The following July 5, 1999, article about the memorial was published in the online version of The Topeka Capital-Journal [note corrections made by Marine Biologist in brackets]:

"A new Vietnam War memorial was dedicated in Garfield Park on Sunday afternoon to the memory of [12] North Topekans who were killed in action during the Vietnam War.

The dedication followed a 1:30 p.m. military and patriotic parade up Kansas Avenue from Norris Street to the park at 1600 N.E. Quincy. The memorial stone was erected on a knoll overlooking Soldier Creek, east of the Garfield Community Center.

A community dinner in the park and a musical program in the park's bandstand followed the dedication. There was a B-1 fly-over from McConnell Air Force Base to close the afternoon's activities.

Topeka Mayor Joan Wagnon spoke briefly at the dedication, as did Steve Goodman, the military and veterans affairs aide to Sen. Sam Brownback; Shawnee County Treasurer Rita Cline; and John Alcala, the North Topeka and Oakland representative on the city council. Brownback had planned to participate in the ceremony but was unable to and sent the representative.

Each of the speakers expressed gratitude for the sacrifices represented in the monument, and Goodman referred to the monument as an "everlasting shrine."

Serving as master of ceremonies for the dedication was Howard Brandenburg, the North Topeka resident who thought of the monument. He made the necessary arrangements with the city and coordinated the donations and volunteer labor from veterans organizations, trades people and other individuals.

A color guard composed of members of Topeka Chapter 604, Vietnam Veterans of America Inc., led the parade. During the dedication, a firing squad from the chapter fired a 21-gun salute to the veterans being honored. A piper and a drummer played "Amazing Grace" and "Going Home." Kansas Army National Guard Chaplain Gregory McCrimmon gave the invocation.

The [12] veterans, whose names are inscribed on a bronze plaque that will be attached to the memorial, are Congressional Medal of Honor winner Danny John [Petersen], and Martin Joseph Grace, Michael Allendorf, Patrick Berwert, Victor Hale, William S. Stewart, Marvin Penry, Dale Shambaugh and Christopher Raimey [and Charles R. Gurtler, James Hassett, and Kerry E. Hess].

The North Topeka Vietnam War Memorial consists of a 3-foot by 4-foot vertical flat stone that rests on a limestone boulder that had lain for several years at the door of the Garfield Park shelter house. The bronze plaque will be attached to the west face of the flat stone. For the dedication, it was displayed on an easel alongside the memorial stone. On the east side of the flat stone is a patriotic and military pictorial in colors. A wreath was placed at the monument for the ceremony.

Circling the monument is a wrought-iron fence supported by field stone pillars, with a central archway bearing the words, "Gone but not forgotten." Above the monument fly the U.S., Kansas, Topeka and MIA/POW flags on three stainless steel flag poles, as well as a new North Topeka flag designed and copyrighted by Brandenburg.

A handicapped-accessible asphalt sidewalk leads up the knoll to the monument and encircles the enclosure. Two dogwood trees will flank the memorial. Several permanent park benches stand under nearby shade trees for visitors.

Brandenburg, a Vietnam veteran, is president of the North Topeka East Neighborhood Improvement Association, but the memorial is a personal project, not a project of the NIA. The project had the cooperation of the Topeka Parks and Recreation Department and Wagnon's office."

Placed by:: Howard Brandenburg (a North Topeka resident who thought of the monument) with the cooperation of the Topeka Parks and Recreation Department and the Topeka Mayor's Office.

Date Placed: 7/4/1999

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