Thursday, October 23, 2014
Somewhere deep within Colorado lies a memorial to Vietnam era Veterans. Called "Soldierstone" it was the dream of Lt. Colonel Stuart Allen Beckley, a Vietnam Veteran.
LTC Beckley served in Vietnam from 1962-1973. After the war he was deeply impacted by Vietnam and wanted to do something for his fellow soldiers – as well as the other countries affected by the war.
Beckley's idea to build a stone memorial on national forest land was initially denied. But when the forest supervisor for the Rio Grande National Forest, Jim Webb (now retired), discovered Beckley was dying of cancer, he changed his mind.
According to the Forest Service, Webb received a letter from Beckley that read, "I am running out of life … have 6 to 8 months to live and need all the help I can muster." Beckly passed away on November 5, 1995.
The memorial is a pillar about twelve feet high with text on each side. It’s surrounded by rocks piled into a low wall. Further away stones encircle the Monument. Beckley somehow got Soldierstone located and built on public land, and paid for it. He felt that the nameless, unthanked soldiers deserved this unique recognition. He also felt that it needed to be a low-key monument (like those soldiers), so his desire was that it would be built without government fuss, and after being built, would not be advertised. Very strange. Yet it is somehow moving and there is a sense of the sacred about the place.
Here is a video taken by some kids biking in Colorado when they came upon it.