Chicago must keep dog tag exhibit honoring men and women killed in Vietnam

For years, Chicago's National Veterans Art Museum proudly hosted one of the most stirring art exhibits honoring the 58,000 men and women killed in the Vietnam War. Called "Above and Beyond," the sculpture featured 58,000 stainless steel wires, each holding a dog tag stamped with the name of the service member who died during the war.

Because the museum had to move from its home at 1801 S. Indiana Avenue Avenue  (it's explained why in this Chicago Tribune story), the 400-square-foot-exhibit had to be carefully boxed and stored in the basement of the museum's new home at 4041 N. Milwaukee. The exhibit remains boxed there because there's not enough room to display it.

Now, veterans from across the nation and beyond want the exhibit to be permanently displayed, here in Chicago, at the VA's Jesse Brown Medical Center, at 820 S. Damen. It's either there, or perhaps the sculpture will be reconfigured in someway so that it can become a traveling exhibit.

I agree with the veterans who want it permanently displayed here. It would bring honor upon Chicago, not to mention the attention and visitors that it would attract. Last March, I posted a small item on the sculpture, and since then, with almost 6,000 hits, it has become one of my blog's most frequently visited pages. Those hits came not just from the United States, but from all over the world, according to my analytics.

The VA is thinking about whether it has the space and capability to permanently host the sculpture. The museum says it will keep you informed of any decisions on its Facebook page.

See some moving Memorial Day tributes here.

What's America's worst war? Vietnam? Iraq? Afghanistan? Go here to find out why it was the War of 1812

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