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News and Notices

Auburn City Council votes to authorize joint American-Vietnamese war memorial in Les Gove Park

Joint War MemorialThe Auburn City Council with a vote of 7-0 passed Resolution 5012 at their regularly scheduled meeting on Dec. 2. The resolution approves a request for the placement of a Joint American-Vietnamese war memorial to be located in Les Gove Park.

Recently a proposal has been before the City from the American-Vietnamese War Memorial Alliance (AVWMA) to erect a memorial in Auburn that has seen much public discussion from veteran groups in the area about the placement or the appropriateness of such a structure. It was agreed that a memorial to recognize and honor the veterans of the Vietnam War, and to express thanks and appreciation for the efforts of those who were engaged in that war, should be placed in a City-owned park via council approval.

The City of Auburn acknowledges that many servicemen and women returning from Vietnam were met with the hostility that accompanied the anti-war sentiment that was prevalent in much of American society at the time, and that it is appropriate, particularly in light of Auburn' s participation in the program celebrating the 50th Anniversary Commemoration of the Vietnam War that Auburn acknowledge and recognize the efforts of those who served in the Vietnam War, thanking them for their service and acknowledging the validity of their mission.

"I can't put into words how much this memorial means to me personally," said Vietnam war veteran David Schmidt who suffers from PTSD. “For me, I'll have a place to go. Because when I came home from Vietnam, there were no bands or parades or anything, and not for any of the vets. We just kind of slid back into town quietly and left again."

The proposed Memorial seeks to display the American flag along with the Vietnamese Freedom and Heritage Flag as a way to recognize those who fought for the freedom of South Vietnam, recognizing, as well, the validity and noble purpose of their efforts.

“This request came to Auburn from the state Department of Veteran Affairs since we are one of the largest centers for veterans in the state,” said Auburn Mayor Pete Lewis.” The overwhelming number of communications in support of this memorial was not a surprise to this community. We look forward to seeing the group involved raise the funds and build the memorial. For those of us associated with the Vietnam War we now have a place to go.”

The AVWMA’s authorization from the City to build the memorial is for a period of 10 years in order to allow for fundraising, design, construction and installation. Les Gove Community Campus is the City’s largest and most widely-used park. The choice for the site provides for the possibility of an expanded monument area as suggested by Deputy Mayor Nancy Backus, chair person of the Planning and Development Committee that sponsored the resolution.

“Having this monument located in The Les Gove Community Campus is just the beginning of a healing process for so many,” Backus remarked. “ The monument will be significant not just for the residents of Auburn, but this will be significant for our region. Many people will travel to visit, reflect, honor and mourn. I am so proud of our city council and appreciate everyone in our community who provided comments and support. I look forward to dedication day.”

City of Auburn
25 West Main St.
Auburn, WA 98001