It probably should not take this long but a monument proposed three years ago in 2104 to honor Vietnam era helicopter pilots has just been approved by Congress for acceptance and placement into Arlington National Cemetery. An article in Military acknowledges that the idea for the monument was spearheaded in 2014 by Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Bob Hesselbein who flew AH-1 Cobra gunships in Vietnam.
The Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association completed their request and application process in 2014 but the application was deadlocked 3-3 by the cemetery’s advisory committee.
Hesselbein pushed forward and eventually the Vietnam Helicopter Crew Monument Act was introduced and passed by Congress. He mentioned that thousands of people contacted members of Congress to show their support for the monument which the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association is funding.
The monument will be erected in Section 35 not far from the Tomb of the Unknowns.
Funeral Director Daily take: We can’t believe that there was actually a 3-3 tie at the original request for this monument. We do understand that using space for a monument does take up space that could eventually cause a filled-up cemetery to displace a future potential veteran. However, it is our opinion that our national cemetery must also “tell a story” of why and how these brave men and women lost their lives. Plaques and monuments give the cemetery that ability.
I’ve been to Arlington. . . I’ve been honored to have served families whose loved ones are there. It is certainly hallowed ground.
Thank you to all who have served and deserve the greatest final resting place a grateful nation can provide.