Honoring Bill Dodson at the War Memorial
A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.
~ Joseph Campbell
Please join us tomorrow at 9 a.m. at the Vietnam War Memorial on the corner of Ocean View Blvd and Honolulu Avenue when the Montrose Shopping Park Association and the Montrose Verdugo City Chamber of Commerce honor retired memorial caretaker Bill Dodson and unveil a new plaque at the memorial site. For 35 years Bill Dodson, who has lived in Glendale all of his life and is a retired Glendale firefighter, tirelessly watched over and took care of the Vietnam War Memorial in Montrose, raking the leaves off the grass, cleaning the streets and sidewalks around the memorial, making sure the flowers were changed regularly, replacing the flag when it frayed in the wind and refinished the plaques on the memorial which display the names of 24 local servicemen killed during the Vietnam War.
A humble man, Dodson has said he doesn’t want any recognition for it. In his mind, it’s just something that needs to be done, and he happens to be the one doing it.
“The memorial kind of has a special meaning to me because of my experience with the Navy,” Dodson said. “That’s what, with the fact that I lost part of my gun crew over there, prompted me to get involved in the war memorial for the Vietnam gentlemen. I just felt we owed them the respect of keeping the memorial clean. I think they’re entitled to that.”
Dodson had served four years in the Navy, sailing off Guam, the Philippines and the Marshall and Gilbert islands and fought in World War II as a gunner on a Navy carrier. Some of his buddies died at the hands of kamikaze pilots and both his sons served in Vietnam, one an Air Force pilot, the other a heavy-artillery officer. Besides being the caretaker of the memorial, Dodson also contributed to the memorial in another significant way. Dodson, along with his friend Ralph Reed, discovered that five local servicemen’s names were missing from the memorial wall. The missing names were discovered when Dodson asked his friend Ralph to research the history behind the names on the memorial. The five fallen servicemen left off the Montrose memorial are listed as residents of Montrose, La Crescenta, La Cañada and Tujunga, according to the official Internet database of the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C. Ralph went back to Washington, D.C. to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial that is a part of the National Mall to look for the names of the 19 he knew about and then the five he had recently discovered. The names of the fallen are listed by town so Ralph was able to easily find and verify the missing names. Thanks to Bill Dodson and Ralph Reed, our Vietnam War Memorial is now complete.
The Vietnam War Memorial in Montrose was built during the height of the Vietnam War in 1968. It was the first Vietnam War Memorial in the United States dedicated to soldiers that lost their lives in the Vietnam War.
Montrose-Verdugo City Chamber of Commerce: Your source for all things local! Our mission is to actively support and enrich the community, vitality and pride of Montrose, to help preserve the historic district and small town atmosphere, to promote economic stability and positive, productive relationships within Montrose and the surrounding communities.
Vietnam War Memorial plaque ceremony on Friday, Sept. 19 at 9 a.m. at the Vietnam War Memorial on the northwest corner of Honolulu Avenue and Ocean View Boulevard.
Art Walk on Saturday, Sept. 20 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the 2300 and 2400 blocks of Honolulu Avenue.
October business mixer on Wednesday, Oct. 1 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Citibank Montrose, 2350 Honolulu Ave., Montrose.
Oktoberfest 2014 on Saturday, Oct. 4 from noon to 11 p.m. in the 2200, 2300 and 2400 blocks of Honolulu Avenue in Montrose.