Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Angel Fire, New Mexico

From Raton, New Mexico, we drove west towards Taos.  Angel Fire is a ski resort area with lakes, campgrounds, lodges and year round recreation.  We were here in the summer, so no snow.  It also has Victor Westphall’s tribute to his son, killed in Vietnam in 1968.  The Peace and Brotherhood Chapel opened in 1971.  Originally funded by David Westphall’s life insurance money and funds from Dr. and Mrs. Westphall, the memorial is now New Mexico’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park, and the only park without an admission fee.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Angel Fire, NM

Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Angel Fire, NM

The wing shaped chapel and memorial rise in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

Path to the chapel

Path to the chapel

Within the building is the chapel, a movie room showing an 88-minute documentary featuring letters from Vietnam.  Also visitors may view mementos from the war years, many donated by veterans and their families.  The memorial garden, outside seating for memorials and even Vietnamese soil from the location David Westphall gave his life for his country, encourage reverence for visitors.  This duck proudly sits at the feet of a soldier writing home.

Soldier with letter

Soldier with letter

Also a helicopter from the war rests on grounds.

From the war

From the war

This memorial is a popular stop for Vietnam veterans Run for the Wall motorcycle trip to Washington D.C. and the Vietnam Memorial wall on Memorial Day.  This is also a place for reflection and healing.  Dr. Westphall, before his death on July 22, 2003, spent much time here talking with visiting veterans.  Many sent follow up letters to him, some of which are on display.

As a Colorado traveling duck, I could sense the serenity of this location.  I certainly recommend a visit to all who served, cared about someone that served, or want to learn more of this part of American history.  Half an hour or half a day, any time in this peaceful location will help answer some questions.   Visit http://www.vietnamveteransmemorial.org.    Please visit this memorial.

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