Kentucky Historical Society

Interview with Jerry Cecil

Date of Interview: 

Tue, 04/03/2012

Collection: 

Interviewer: 

Interviewee: 

Call Number: 

2012OH03.14

Veteran Jerry Cecil discusses the Kentucky Vietnam Veterans Memorial from the struggle for funding to its present popularity as a place for memorial visits. Helm Roberts, a Naval Aviator veteran, designed the Memorial as a labor of love, and it is a masterpiece of mathematics as well as design. The Memorial is in the form of a large sundial. The stainless steel gnomon casts its shadow upon a granite plaza. There are 1,103 names on the memorial, including 23 missing in action. Each name is engraved into the plaza, and placed so that the tip of the shadow touches his name on the anniversary of his death, thus giving each fallen veteran a personal Memorial Day. The location of each name is fixed mathematically by the date of casualty, the geographic location of the memorial, the height of the gnomon and the physics of solar movement. The stones were then designed and cut to avoid dividing any individual name.

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