I paid a visit to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial this week, not only to pay my respects to the fallen troops but to see whether serious maintenance problems at the memorial had been corrected.
No, the maintenance problems were still uncorrected; if anything, these problems have gotten worse.
The large black splotches on the off-white bottoms of the reflecting pools that flank the memorial fountains were even more unsightly now that the fountains have been shut off for the winter.
The worst part of all this was that in mid-June--when I was researching my second editorial about these maintenance problems—a Parks Department official, Michael Herron, manager of the department’s natural resources division, assured me that the problem would be solved “in the next month or two,” certainly by fall.
Repeat: It is fall and there is no indication that anything has been done to adequately maintain the memorial. I understand the bottoms of the pools have had these ugly black splotches, caused by a peeling sealant, for more than a year.
The pools, along with the fountains themselves, flank a black granite wall, upon which are chiseled the names of men and women from the Kansas City area who were killed in action in Vietnam. This Wall of Honor is similar to the long wall in Washington, which bears more than 50,000 names.
I’ll bet that if the reflecting pools at our very own Vietnam Memorial were in a more caring or better-managed city it would not have been allowed to deteriorate for this long or to this extentin such a prominent location as 43rd and Broadway.
Indeed, if the reflecting pools of our Vietnam Memorial were a children’s swimming pool anywhere in the city, the peeling coatings on the bottoms of the swimming pool would have been fixed right away.
I guess children sweltering in the heat of summer, and their unhappy parents, have more of a constituency at City Hall than dead combat veterans and their comrades in arms who managed to survive the long nightmare of Vietnam.