VETERANS PARK – a letter to LCCC from Rob Wood

Councilor, etc…..,
This has weighed heavy on my heart for some time now as I was one of the people that did the construction work of the semicircular granite monument of plaques at Veterans Park.
I hope you will take some time to consider my thoughts.

Stolen Valor

 I believe that only a war veteran can understand the sense of isolation with their thoughts they feel from such an experience. Occasionally I visit our Veterans Park to walk and sit amongst the thousands of names placed on the semicircular acknowledgement of all New Mexicans that served so I feel a connection that brings me comfort in my isolation.

 During my last visit, myself and another Marine Veteran of the Vietnam Conflict found his name and his brothers name on the plaques, and he told me their stories. We walked amongst all the new park structures, some of which I felt were awfully gaudy for such a place of deep internal reflection, but we at last came to the picnic tables and sat looking out at all the plaques full of names looking back at us and I know, in silence, we both felt the honor shared in both directions.

 As we rose to leave, I noticed off to one side a granite monument I had not seen before. Upon investigation I felt completely violated by names that had no right to be on this hallowed ground. They were not veterans but civilians that never knew the sacrifice all those thousands of others had made. Yes, they may deserve some minor recognition for the efforts they had made in the acknowledgement of Veterans (like the credits at the end of a film) but, as I have felt over the years, the violation of self by others that climb aboard with us and receive recognition when not deserved in our context lessens the respect Veterans earned. It is that slap on the face I feel when another falsely either intentionally or unintentionally climbs onto our parade in order to steal valor that they can never go back in time and gain thus do not deserve at any level. That ship for them already sailed.

 This monument should be removed and possibly placed in another of the City’s parks noting what it is for which may actually direct others to go and visit Veteran’s Park.  It and the names on it have no right to be in a park specifically dedicated to Veterans. It is disrespectful and dishonoring by lowering the standards of the parks intended purpose.

 Please respect all Veterans for which Veteran’s Park was created to pay homage to and find a new home for this monument.

 Rob Wood


Vietnam 1968, 1969



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