Bricklaying ceremony last step in Waggener High School Vietnam War memorial
A bricklaying ceremony on Memorial Day will be the last step in finishing the project.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The names of seven Waggener High School graduates are etched in stone on a memorial on the school's football field. It's a monument that will forever honor the seven who died in the Vietnam War.
"It's about my buddies and the guys who sacrificed and gave a lot more than I'll ever give," said Chris Johnson who organized the construction of the memorial.
Johnson once walked the halls of Waggener with many of the fallen soldiers. He was drafted in 1968 and saw action in Vietnam. "I was a track commander. APC tank commander, he said. "F Troop 17th Cav 196 infantry brigade."
It was Johnson's idea to establish the memorial, a passion project that's grown. "When we initially started it off, it was just the three stones. Now it's gone to the flowers, the fencing, the bricks, "said Johnson.
For the last two years, he's raised money to fund the stirring tribute. He recruited his brother, Sid, and friend John Wells who also served in Vietnam. "We're brothers no matter who we are," said Wells.
Wells has lasting effects from his service, suffering from Parkinson's and PTSD. While the monument honors the seven who died in action, he says it brings peace to any veteran suffering. "I've come over here late at night and I've seen guys on motorcycles sitting over here by themselves and it'll bring you to tears. That's what it's about for me," said Wells.
The final phase of the project is a brick pathway with stones that can be purchased and dedicated.
"There's 300 and some bricks in this first section and I think so far we've sold about 40 to 50 so we've got several more to go," said Johnson. A bricklaying ceremony will be held on Memorial Day at 6 p.m. at Waggener High School. Heather French Henry is expected to attend.
Bricks can still be purchased by contacting Kristen Heckel at Waggener High School.
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