Lake Charles, Louisiana – Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter presented the Louisiana Vietnam Veterans Memorial plans to the Mayor’s Armed Forces Commission on Monday, October 9. The memorial will be situated at the Lake Charles lakefront within Veterans Memorial Park and will feature the names of all 885 Louisiana Vietnam War casualties engraved on its walls.
This unveiling marked the initial public discussion regarding the replacement of the previous UH-1 “Huey” helicopter area, which had to be retired due to irreparable damage caused by Hurricanes Laura and Delta. The proposed memorial will serve as a permanent replacement for this space.
It is important to note that no other location in the State of Louisiana has been officially designated as the “Louisiana Vietnam Veterans Memorial” thus far. Consequently, the City aims to pursue the official designation of this namesake during the upcoming legislative session.
“Our Veterans Memorial Park offers a quiet place for reflection for those who have served and continue to serve, and a place for civilians to offer thanks and remembrance,” said Mayor Nic Hunter. “Though recent natural disasters took their toll on Veterans Memorial Park, we are now looking at this as an opportunity to reimagine this space to be even more distinct. All our veterans deserve honor and thanks from the community, and this is especially true for Vietnam War veterans.”
“Our Vietnam War veterans have taken on a special focus for us in recent years,” explained James Dodd, MAFC President. “This period of American history evokes strong emotions in people to this day, and these veterans, who were simply answering their call to serve, did not receive the welcome home like other war veterans. We cannot change history, but we can offer the proper recognition today through events like our Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Celebration held annually in March and through this permanent lakefront memorial.”
In attendance during the announcement was Secretary Joey Strickland of the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs.
“As a two-tour Vietnam combat veteran, I am in total support of this effort, particularly given that Louisiana’s only Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipient Douglas Fournet comes from the Lake Charles area. Lake Charles has a well-documented history of supporting our military and veterans dating back to the World War II era. I am deeply honored to be a part of these plans to honor all of Louisiana’s 85,000 Vietnam Veterans and their families for generations to come.”
The successful realization of the memorial project hinges upon the approval of LC REBOUND, a fiscally balanced ballot measure scheduled for voting on November 18, 2023.