Often we think of Memorial Day’s commemorations as only honoring America’s service persons who were killed in action, missing in action and the remains of those only identified as “American Service Persons”. The tomb of the latter has become a Memorial Day icon and is known as the tomb of the unknown soldier. Other Memorial icons include both National and state veteran cemeteries. In Louisiana, veteran cemeteries are in different sections of the state. Sadly, many veterans are unaware they and their spouses qualify for their remains to be interred in these cemeteries. The Northwest Louisiana Veterans Cemetery is located in Southwest Caddo Parish and can be contacted at 318-925-0612. The address is 7970 Mike Clark Dr., Keithville, Louisiana, 71047.
The National loss of America Service persons in past wars rightly receives annual attention on this day. The families of these honored dead sometimes don’t get much media coverage. As one of the younger Viet Nam veterans (age 70), I endorse, participate in, and fully support projects aimed at making the general public more aware of the true narrative of that war. One such project is to urge the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs to reexamine the headstones of the killed in action of the Korean and the Viet Nam war for accuracy. At the height of casualties of the Viet Nam War, there was an increase in demand for Military headstones. It’s possible that the rush to contract for vendors may have contributed to errors on headstones. While it’s not clear who is responsible for the errors, most will agree that all headstones deserve attention after 50 years.
Another Viet Nam and Korean War project I’m proud to support is in its early stages. This is an oral history of both Viet Nam and Korean War veterans. The Cammie Henry Library of Northwestern State University is exploring options for this project, as April 25, 2025, will mark the 50th anniversary of what is known in America as the fall of Saigon. On the above date, all U. S. Armed Forces left what was then called South Viet Nam. I understand that NSU and the Library of Congress could partner to make this project a reality. Also, family members of those killed in action and missing in action are encouraged to participate in this project.
Willie M. Calhoun
USAR, Msgt, ret.