Veterans Affairs

Michigan Vietnam Veteran's Traveling Memorial
Michigan Vietnam Veteran Traveling Memorial
Coming to Kalkaska 
August 16-18, 2018 
Railroad Square  7 am - 7 pm
The Memorial will be escorted from Grayling,
from the truck stop located at the 4 Mile Road Exit of I-75
 on August 16, 2018 at 10:00 am
If you wish to be a part of the escort be there by 9:30 am
* see additional information below *

What is the Michigan Vietnam Veteran Traveling Memorial ?  *

It is a Memorial to the Men and Women from Michigan who lost their lives in the Vietnam War.
It's a message saying "We Will Not Forget" those who did not come home from Southeast Asia and are listed as a Prisoner of War or Missing in Action. It is a place for those who have served to come together in remembrance of their fellow Soldier, Marine, Seaman, Airman, and Coast Guardsman. It is a place to honor those who have received the Flag as the words "on behalf of a proud and grateful nation," have been spoken.

Whatever it may mean to you, let this be a place of honor and healing...
We are proud to sponsor this moving tribute saluting our Brothers and Sisters
who have lost their lives and served in Southeast Asia.


            In the Spring of 2005, the 127th Wing of the Michigan Air National Guard at Selfridge Air National Guard Base was preparing to host their bi-annual Military Air Show and Open House. The theme "A Tribute to Vietnam Veterans" was adopted and SSgt Kurt Damrow was given the task of coordinating events that would support this theme. Kurt was told that the half-size replica of the memorial which travels nationwide, was scheduled in another state and would not be available for display. SSgt Damrow decided to create the "Michigan Vietnam Veteran  Traveling Memorial" containing the 2,600+ names of Veterans from Michigan who were Killed in Action. Kurt was moved to create this special tribute in memory of his cousin, Navy GMG3 Oliver Damrow of Kinde, Michigan, who was killed shortly after his return to Vietnam for his second tour of duty. Oliver's dedication to duty and to those with whom he served would not allow him to stay at home...not without his men...he returned to Vietnam. Oliver was killed in hostile fire on PBR-658 with Navy River Patrol Forces Task Force 116 at Phong Ding, South Vietnam, on June 11, 1967.  Kurt has dedicated his efforts to the memory of Oliver and those who lost their lives from the Thumb area of Michigan.
          Helping SSgt Damrow in creating the Michigan Wall was a friend and co-worker, John Swanson, who transformed the vision and provided the technical expertise that created the five panels you are seeing today. John is also a Vietnam Veteran who has taken great pride in creating this Memorial to his fellow soldiers and their families. Our thanks go out to Kurt Damrow, John Swanson, and everyone who helped in creating this Healing Memorial.
  *  Note:  Used with permission of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 154

     Escorting the Memorial into Kalkaska will be members from Kalkaska American Legion Post 480,  Kalkaska VFW 
     Post 8684, the American Legion Patriot Riders,  the Patriot Guard Riders,  Michigan State Police, Crawford County
     Sheriff Department, Kalkaska County Sheriff Department, Kalkaska Police Department, and others.  

     The Memorial will be escorted into Kalkaska from the truck stop located at 4 Mile Road off I-75.   The escort will be 
     leaving at 10:00 am and will travel Military Road to M-72 to Old 66 into downtown Kalkaska.  If you wish to be a part
     of the escort please be at the truck stop no later than 9:30 a.m. 

    Members of the public are invited to gather at the side of the roads along the route, or at Railroad Square, to wave
    flags, display posters and salute the Memorial procession as it travels from Grayling to Kalkaska. 

    There will be Guards posted from 7:00 pm until 7:00 am at the Memorial each day.  
    If you wish to volunteer some time as a Guard, please contact Sgt. Aaron Popa of the Kalkaska Police
    Department at 231-258-9081.      You do not have to be a Veteran to volunteer your time. 

     At the Memorial on Friday and Saturday, the Traverse City Vet Center will have its Mobile Vet Center available
     for you to tour,  to learn about services available through the Vet Center, and to see what services you may be
     eligible for.         

     Additionally, the Director of the Kalkaska County Department of Veterans Affairs will be available to answer
     questions regarding Veterans benefits.

  Last updated: July 15, 2018