Memorial sanctuary to receive new addition
By Jessica Tuggle
VERO BEACH - A new marker remembering the sacrifices of veterans will be dedicated at Veterans Memorial Island Sanctuary next week.
It was harsh, bloody, and long.
It was war.
The Vietnam War, a hot-button topic during its occurrence from 1955 to 1975 and through today, and the soldiers who served their country during it, is a part of U.S. history that will not be forgotten in Vero Beach.
A black granite octagonal monument standing 3.5-feet tall will be placed on Veterans Memorial Island Sanctuary on April 28 at 10 a.m. and dedicated to Vietnam veterans from Indian River County who died as a result of the war.
Dress for the occasion is military uniform or business casual.
The Vietnam Veterans of America, chapter 1038, worked with the Veteran Island Memorial Sanctuary committee to design and create a monument appropriate for the sanctuary and include Vietnam veterans specifically on the island.
The chapter put up $8,000 to have the monument built because they felt it was important to recognize and remember the men and women who served, are missing in action or gave the supreme sacrifice in service during the Vietnam War, said Larry Toscano, one of the members spearheading the project.
On the monument itself will be the names of about 20 Indian River County residents who fought and died either during the war, or as a result of affects from the war, Mr. Toscano said.
Mr. Toscano is a retired U.S. Army staff sergeant who served in Vietnam from January 1969 to May 1971. He recalls moving all over the country, going through villages, losing friends and doing his duty.
"Some things you don't want to remember," Mr. Toscano said.
"But there were good times and bad times. I was able to go to Japan and Australia for some 'r 'n r,' so I got to see the world. I came back in one piece. I was one of the lucky ones," he said.
When they came home from the war, Vietnam veterans were not treated like veterans of other wars, and that was difficult to live with. But more than 40 years later, their sacrifice and dedication is being recognized, and Vero Beach will be one of the cities that honors Vietnam veterans, Mr. Toscano said.
"We started the project two years ago and this will be a fine end product," he said.
The public is also invited to a Vietnam memorial dinner later that day at 6 p.m. at the Italian American Civic Association.
The cost per person is $20.
Tickets to the dedication dinner are available at the Italian American Civic Association, 1600 25th St., Vero Beach. For more information, call (772) 778-1522.