SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – A memorial honoring those who served in Vietnam is coming to Spartanburg County this fall.
There is a way you can get a veteran you know who served in Vietnam honored.
Spartanburg County officials said the “In Memory” program is new to the county and is a way for those veterans who served in Vietnam, and were able to come home, to get recognized.
Thomas Edward Gibbs Sr. served one tour in the Vietnam War. His family applied for him to be honored, through the program, in 2021, and were able to see his legacy live on.
“It was very emotional. All the emotions rolled into one. Just to be able to be there and honor him in such a great way,” said Kimberly Branch.
Gibbs’ daughter, Kimberly Branch, said her father served in the Marine Corps, but there were other sides to her hero.
“He was a dedicated father and husband. He and my mom were together for 53 years,” she said.
Gibbs passed away in 2020, years after returning home. So, his family applied for him to become a part of the program and he was accepted last year.
“My mom found out about the program after he had passed, and it was something that inspired and touched her heart,” said Branch.
Brent Cobb, Director of Veterans’ Affairs for Spartanburg County, said this program is a part of The Wall That Heals.
“The ‘In Memory’ program is for veterans who served in Vietnam honorably, and it’s to memorialize their service because they made it home. The other 56,000 that are honored are on the wall,” said Cobb. “These individuals actually have a special program designed for them, because their names cannot be associated with the wall.”
The wall is a replica of the one in Washington D.C. that travels around the country.
It will be in Spartanburg County from November 9-12.
Branch said her family went to D.C. to read her father’s name.
“I think the ‘In Memory’ program is a great way for those who were in Vietnam to be honored, because they didn’t get the recognition or home welcoming then,” she said.
Not everyone can make the trip to D.C. on Father’s Day weekend, so Cobb said they will be reading the names on Veteran’s Day, while the wall is here.
There are some qualifications for veterans to meet before being accepted.
“As long as they have an honorable discharge from service, and they served in country or in the nautical waters of Vietnam and the surrounding countries during the Vietnam conflict, then they are eligible,” said Cobb.
Documents that need to be provided:
- A completed application
- Copy of military documents, like DD-214, service records, Vietnam Service Medal, and others
- A copy of the veteran’s death certificate or another formal notification of death
- Two pictures of the veteran
Cobb said the deadline to apply is on Vietnam Veteran’s Day, which is March 29. The county is also trying to solidify the location where the wall will go.
The hours the wall will be open to visit:
- Opens at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, November 9
- Closes at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 12
- It will be open 24/7 while it is in Spartanburg County
To apply a veteran, click here.
For more on the “In Memory” Program, click here.