Fundraising underway for Westside Veteran’s Memorial Park Vietnam tribute

By Rebecca ChristophersonFebruary 28, 2024No Comments

Fundraising underway for Westside Veteran’s Memorial Park Vietnam tribute

By Rachael Lindley
Photos courtesy of the foundation

The Tarrant County Vietnam Memorial Foundation is raising money to develop a memorial for Vietnam veterans to be built on Fort Worth’s Westside.

The memorial would be placed in the Veteran’s Memorial Park at 4120 Camp Bowie Blvd. The foundation is raising $300,000-$500,000 to build it and has $30,000 so far, said Jim Hodgson, president of the Tarrant County Vietnam Memorial Foundation.

The memorial would be the first of its kind in Tarrant County for Vietnam vets and will list the names of fallen soldiers from the county.

“It’s of the utmost importance to include names on any kind of memorial monument because it personalizes it,” Hodgson said. “If their names are there, they never truly die, right?”

The Memorial Foundation has enlisted the artist and sculptor Michael Pavlovsky to create the tribute.

The structure will consist of a 3-foot-tall, nine-sided granite edifice representing the years of the war. The 221 names of Tarrant County soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who gave their lives will be listed by the year they died. The center portion is a cylindrical tracery of stainless-steel vines and leaves representing hope, the future and the passing of time. In the middle of the cylinder, there will be a downward-pointing bronze sword representing the fallen warrior.

The foundation’s website includes a list, with the branch, rank, name and photo of each soldier.

Because of the politics that surrounded the Vietnam conflict, many veterans who returned stateside were treated poorly and faced a shortage of resources.

“These men were plucked out of the jungle and thrown into an environment where people didn’t like you and you had to fend for yourself,” Hodgson said. “There was no decompression time and no comradery because they often made the journey home alone. Many got off the plane, put on their civilian clothes and didn’t discuss their time in the service again for 40 years.”

The memorial isn’t limited to servicemen who died in Vietnam. It also will include those who died from wounds sustained, disease, suicides and Agent Orange, a defoliant used in the jungles of Vietnam. There will also be a separate category for those missing in action.

Construction has not yet started. The foundation hopes to finish construction of the monument sometime in 2026. The construction estimate was made during COVID, and Hodgson said that it could have been inflated.

“We are still very much in the fundraising phase. It hasn’t been easy, but we’re really hopeful to increase awareness in the community,” Hodgson said. “When you start talking to people about Vietnam, you realize how many people it impacted.” 

The foundation is seeking sponsorship and major gifts and is raising money through the sale of commemorative bricks on its site. It’s also planning several events in 2024: pickleball tournament Jan. 13, car show March 23, golf tournament in the spring, clay shoot May 25 and a barbecue in October.


For more information, contact tcvmf.us or their Facebook page at facebook.com/TCVWM.