Memorial in Makunga pays tribute to fallen Likhae Valley soldiers – Morning call

Marine sergeant. Hugh J. Sullivan Jr. did not return home from the Vietnam War.

The native of Istana never saw his daughter. She was 3 months old when Sullivan was shot.

Army paratrooper Gerald E. Davis, 19, a footballer and athletics star at Liberty High School in Bethlehem, also did not return home. He was killed by friendly fire.

Like David Barnes of Allentown. The leader of the army detachment, a high school graduate Elena and a wrestler, was mortally wounded while leading his men into battle.

Remembrance Day is a time to remember those who died in the service of our country.

It is also an opportunity to remember those who do their best to ensure that heroes like Sullivan, Davis and Barnes will never be forgotten.

May 25 marks the 25th anniversary of the consecration of a memorial to 126 servicemen from Lehigh and Northampton counties who died in the Vietnam War.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Lihai-Northampton was dedicated on May 25, 1997 at the Makunga Veterans Association. It was recently renamed the Memorial Some gave it its all.

Many of those who planned and built the memorial a quarter of a century ago are no longer in poor health.

Vietnam veteran Larry Deibert, who was the chairman of the committee that built the memorial, contacted me. He hopes fans will consider buying an engraved brick, as some of the proceeds help hold the memorial.

Bricks can be used to make inscriptions in memory of any veteran, living or dead.

Deibert also wants to remind people that all deceased veterans have the opportunity to mark their names at this location.

They are engraved on a granite wall behind an obelisk with the names of those killed in Vietnam. The wall is similar to Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DCalthough much smaller.

On the wall are the names of 308 dead veterans. Their service ranges from the Spanish-American War to Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Several have participated in many wars, including Sergeant Raymond H. Hall first classwho served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

The memorial was planned and built by volunteers from three organizations: Veterans of the Vietnam War Post 54 in Northampton and Post 75 in Macungie and Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 415 in Fullerton. They raised funds and built platforms for parades to raise public awareness.

The memorial is a testament to how the community can come together to honor the fallen warriors.

Debert estimates the memorial cost between $ 50,000 and $ 75,000. The funds were collected from the sale of shirts, mugs and commemorative books, as well as money that people paid for the names to be inscribed on the brick and granite wall.

The project would have cost much more, perhaps $ 250,000, if local businesses had not stepped up and donated materials and services, he said.

“We would never have built it. By no means, ”Deibert said.

It was developed by Vietnam veteran Bill Cooper. It was created by Bill Wentz from the memorials of Count Wentz. Sculptor Bob Peters of Macungie made a sculpture of a fallen soldier, military boots with a helmet and tags.

Vietnam veterans Larry Andrews, Mike Powell, Ron Ruff and Dennis Hane have been on their knees for hours, laying out about 5,000 bricks that make up the Road of Honor.

“Virtually everything was a work of love,” Deibert said.

Others performed behind-the-scenes roles.

Deibert of Hellertown spent time in the library to collect the obituaries of the deceased for a memorial program that was sold at the dedication. Finding them in newspaper archives and then printing them was tedious work.

A woman sitting next to him asked what he was doing. After he explained, she offered to help.

She even posted them on the pages for the book. “Just call me Angel,” she told him.

“Sometimes I think it was a real angel,” Deibert said. “I never saw her after that.”

To purchase a brick with the inscription or get the name inscribed on the wall, call the Macungie Veterans Association, 610-966-4949.

Morning Call columnist Paul Musik can be reached at 610-820-6582 or

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