"AS LONG AS WE LIVE, YOU SHALL LIVE. AS LONG AS WE LIVE, YOU SHALL BE REMEMBERED. AS LONG AS WE LIVE, YOU SHALL BE LOVED."
Of the more than 58,000 names inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C., 103 of them are of “known” Canadians who served with United States forces. Although the United States has honored those fallen Canadians who did not return from the Vietnam war, their own native country has never officially done so.
In the early 1960s, When the Canadian government decided to severely cut back her Armed Forces, tens of thousands of young Canadian males crossed the border to join up with the American military during the era of the Vietnam War. Over one hundred Canadians lost their lives in battle. One Canadian won the Congressional Medal of Honor. To date, no official recognition has ever been paid to those Canadians who volunteered to fight for freedom for others and against tyranny in the Vietnam War. There is no official war memorial commemorating Canadians who sacrificed their lives in Vietnam.
Finally, through the efforts of a small group of American veterans from Michigan, a war memorial commemorating the fallen Canadian soldiers was erected on Canadian soil, July 2, 1995. This group, known as MACV, covenanted with themselves and the unsung Canadian Vietnam veterans: "As Long As We Live, You Will Live. As Long As We Live, You Will Be Remembered. As Long As We Live, You Will Be Loved". It was a long, hard fought struggle that began in 1986, after Vietnam veterans Ric Gidner and Ed Johnson first discovered the untold story of the Canadian Vietnam veterans while on pilgrimage to "The Wall" in Washington, DC. Despite their efforts to get a memorial to the Canadians on Canadian soil, they were unable to overcome resistance from the Canadian government. Later, Chris Reynolds joined with Ric, and Ed and the three decided to change the foundation's name from "Canadian Vietnam Veterans Welcome Home Committee" to "Michigan Association of Concerned Veterans" (M.A.C.V.) This seemed to be the charm, as progress, however slowly, began. The three American veterans perservered and began planning for the fruition of the memorial, paying all expenses by mortgaging their homes, cashing their retirement funds and maxing out their credit cards. However, the government of Canada never permitted the Canadian veterans' memorial under its auspices. Finally, it was the town of Windsor in Ontario that welcomed the memory of the fallen Canadian Vietnam soldiers, giving them a home place on Canadian soil. (Resource: "North Wall History" by Ed Johnson; History of the Wall, and The Canadian Vietnam Veterans Memorial)
Since the memorial's dedication, Canadians have been surprised to learn that some of their own countrymen served with Americans in Vietnam. However, a few years later, in 1998, came heartbreak, as vandals struck the veterans' memorial. The following year, after many thousands of dollars of restoration, a CANADIAN VIETNAM MEMORIAL REDEDICATION was held on the "FIVE YEAR ANNIVERSARY - JULY 10, 1999." Security modifications were performed, such as encasing monuments in plastic, to prevent further desecration of the fallen heroes' memory. At that ceremony of speeches, parades and music, many Canadian citizens expressed their gratitude for the veterans and for the memorial, and their dismay at the damage done to the monument. Speculating about the perpetrators, most believed that the damage was deliberately inflicted against the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, as no other art in Assumption Park had been targeted and damaged.
The monument is of black granite with the names inscribed of those Canadian Vietnam veterans killed in action during the war. Weighing more than three tons, it is eleven feet tall and fourteen feet wide.
Near the U.S. border there is one memorial, The North Wall, at Assumption Park, Windsor, Ontario, overlooking the Detroit River. It honors the 103 Canadians who lost their lives in Vietnam and the seven who went missing in action. It is a fine tribute to those Canadians who served and sacrificed all for their belief in freedom.
"The Wall That Heals", is a half scale replica of the most visited memorial in Washington, D.C. Since its dedication, The Wall That Heals has visited nearly 250 cities and towns throughout the nation, spreading the its healing power to millions. It has also travelled to the four provinces of Ireland and to Canada.
The North Wall images appearing on these North Wall pages are from the 2005 Canadian Vietnam Memorial ceremony which featured the travelling "Wall That Heals". They are subject to copyright by World War II veteran, George Mock (gmockrcpilot).