A group of Vietnam War veterans and Carter-Riverside High School alumni remain on the offensive as they fight to install a memorial marker on the campus in eastern Fort Worth. Last summer, we visited with one of the veterans, Joe King, who was upset that school officials didn’t appear to be overly helpful or excited about erecting a memorial, even though the alumni group –– The Eagle Cup and Ball –– would be footing the bill.
A fed-up King called us to complain that efforts to erect the memorial to honor school alumni who served in Vietnam from the 1950s to the 1970s had turned into a maddening series of bureaucratic snafus. King graduated from Carter-Riverside in 1968 and has seen many of his old war buddies die off in recent years. His group of vets “wanted to do something for these guys before all of them pass away,” he told us last summer.
We contacted the school district’s communications executive director Clint Bond to find out what was happening. Bond said the group’s proposal needed to be formalized in writing, outlining exactly what they had in mind. Then the plan would need to be scrutinized to see if it met policies for gifts and monuments. The vets agreed to submit a proposal.
Seven months later, we figured the memorial would have been completed by now.
King’s group won approval to have a memorial plaque or bench included as part of a major expansion that is currently underway at the school. Under that plan, the memorial would have been placed in a school courtyard. The vets, though, weren’t satisfied.
“That’s nice, but it’s not really what we’re looking for,” King told us recently. “It just doesn’t provide the public access to it that we really want. If somebody comes in on the weekend and says, ‘Hey, I want to go visit the Vietnam memorial,’ if it was inside the courtyard, it would be closed off for access. Plus, any visitor going during normal hours would have to pass through the school office for security clearance.”
The vets want to erect a memorial near the concrete bandstand that sits near the intersection of Yucca Avenue and Riverside Drive.
“We figured a standalone monument would match up very well with that,” King said.
For that to happen, the group must win approval from the city’s Historic & Cultural Landmarks Commission since the school is designated a historic landmark.
The school district “is cooperating,” King said, “but we can’t take it any further until we get historical commission approval. We will take a design to them and explain what we’re trying to do. We’ll have to bring our design to their standards.”