Manataka™ American Indian Council
Warrior Society News
National Native American Vietnam Veterans Memorial
The Highground is honored to have been chosen as the home of The National Native American Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Unanimous approval for this decision was given at the annual Congress of Native American Indians held in Denver, CO in 1994.
Dedicated in 1995, The National Native American Vietnam Veterans Memorial is the first national memorial to come to The Highground. Harry Whitehorse, Madison sculptor and WW II veteran, created this bronze sculpture.
Mounted on a red granite base, the sculpture depicts an Native American Soldier in jungle fatigues, holding a rifle in one hand and an Eagle Feather Staff in the other. The names, rank, home of record, date of casualty-how they died (Still to be completed is the tribal affiliation.) of all Native American Indians who died as a result of the Vietnam war etched into two of the four black granite panels which skirt the base of the entire statuary. When we do tours we emphasize the importance of the Eagle Feather Staff.
The History of Highground
The history of The Highground is described best by the man who started it all, Tom Miller:
“ I really began this Project many years ago, in 1964, while serving in the 2nd Bn/7th Marines in California. This is where I met my partner, Jack Swender. Jack was from Kansas City, Kansas.
We landed in Qui Nhon, Vietnam on the 7th of July, 1965. We soon set up our battalions headquarters. It was located 15 miles west of that beautiful city in what was once an old French artillery base during the early 1950's. Set off the road, there were huge pits dug into the ground about 5 feet deep. These pits ended up being internment camps for suspected Vietcong.
The final day came as many came in Vietnam: gray, overcast, heavy-aired, with drizzle, but very quiet. If you want an in depth writing on what happened that day, see Solid Contact for 2/7 . We had slept in dirty water, 5" deep, just a few nights before and we were soaked to the bones. We smelled and we were tired to say the least. Some small contact was made during the morning. We had just finished lunch in a hut and were moving through a small market hamlet named Ky Phu, when the 80th Battalion of hard-core Vietcong hit us. We were cut in to two groups with Jack and I being at the end of the first group.
We didn't have to communicate to each other the fact that we had to hold the town from being overran by the Vietcong as they were trying to move a 50 caliber machine-gun into the middle of it. We held them off for I would say 15 - 20 minutes before a recoilless rifle shell blew apart the rear wall of the house we were in. I like to think and I do believe that our action saved many Marines their lives that day, although it did cost Jack his.
I believe it is needless to say that the day that Jack died in my arms was the saddest day in my life. One grows to love another when they are that close. In late 1983, I again picked up the drive to produce our memorial. The mood of America had changed and I had come in contact with a group of Vietnam veterans (Vietnam Veterans of America - Wisconsin delegation). Through them, the outstanding network needed to produce this Project could be developed. It wasn't until late 1984 that people started to believe that I was really going to do something and then they slowly fell into place and supported the Project.”
And so it began.
The Highground has evolved to be a memorial park that pays tribute to the Dead, and honors the Survivors, their service, and their sacrifices. It also pays tribute to the people who supported them when they were away and upon their return.
Today, The Highground has tributes to Vietnam Veterans, W.W.II Veterans, W.W.I Veterans, Women Veterans, and families that supported and lost loved ones. In addition, The Highground has a Dove Effigy Mound, A United In Service Tribute, a Korean Veterans Memorial, a developmental forest with 4 miles of hiking trails, and a meditation garden.
W7031 Ridge Road
Neillsville, WI 54456
Phone: (715) 743 - 4224