High school project aims to honor area Vietnam War veterans

From the New Haven Register:

NEW HAVEN >> What began as a High School in the Community teacher’s wishes have branched out into a proposed beautification project for the city.

Jack Stacey, a history teacher and adviser of the school’s Service Club, said the idea grew after he took his students to the Vietnam War memorial on the southern end of Long Wharf Park. The memorial, he said he learned from public records, was proposed as a similar monument to that in Washington, D.C.; a black granite wall with the names of those who served in the war.

“It was planned, but it never happened. It was a project I had in mind for a while to fulfill that in a way,” he said.

In lieu of the wall, a V-shaped structure exists listing the names of those who died in the war. Across from that, there is a plaque, standing in for those from the New Haven area who served in the war.

Stacey said he pitched the idea to his Service Club, which was looking for a project, to sell engraved bricks for a walkway between the two monuments. Those veterans or families of veterans in the area who want their names on bricks in the walkway to the memorial can be represented in the project.

Shiann Jenkins, president of the Service Club, said the project serves the purpose of beautification and paying tribute.

“The sidewalk doesn’t look that great,” she said.

Representatives of the group met with David Moser, landscape architect for the city of New Haven, who agreed to support the idea.

“We’re going to work with them, it just hasn’t been spelled out who will do what, but the city is going to cooperate,” Moser said.

As the Service Club presses on, some challenges do remain.

“We’re working on getting the names, but we’re not sure who to contact,” Jenkins said.

Additionally, the students have learned the city would not allow them to do the construction themselves because of potential risks, but if they can raise funds for the bricks, the city will do the labor.

Stacey said the club has resolved to contribute to preserving the walkway in future years, if it reaches fruition, by planting flowers and maintaining the area in the springtime.

Service Club member Caroline Ricardo said the matter is relevant to students because High School in the Community offers a course on the Vietnam War.

“It’s nice to make it prettier and do the work,” she said.

Jenkins said the club managed to track down records that list at least 1,000 veterans from the New Haven area, but outreach is the biggest obstacle facing the group. She said the group also is looking for corporate sponsorship.

According to Stacey, he’s discussed with Jenkins that they would like the project done before June, so she can see the fruits of her labor. The group is looking to handle the logistics of the project during the winter months in preparation for construction in warm months.

New Haven high school project aims to honor area Vietnam War veterans with a brick walk” by Brian Zahn, posted on 11/10/15