Sometime shortly after the local VFW chapter in Easton had hosted the traveling Vietnam War Memorial Wall, two volunteers, Agnes Blades, and Nancy Gooding, had bonded after meeting grieving families of loved ones who had been lost in that war. Agnes herself had lost her husband in Vietnam, and Nancy, the daughter of a WWII veteran herself, also came to sense and feel the horrific devastation that parents, spouses, and children go through when losing a family member.
Those shared sentiment were the driving force that led the two women to lead a VFW Auxiliary crusade that would, at long last, commemorate those killed in action in World War One, World War Two, and the Korean War on the Talbot County Courthouse lawn next to the Vietnam War monument.
It would take the friends two years of hard fundraising, countless hours of research, and raw determination to make the $60,000 project a success, but as Nancy noted in her interview with the Spy, they both feel they were destined to make this a cause so that no one could forget the sacrifice our local heroes made to defend freedom.
While the project still needs to finish fundraising, they were close enough for the KIA memorials to be installed with the help of Shore Memorials and Wye Tree Landscapes earlier this fall.
The Spy chatted with Nancy Gooding about this remarkable journey a few days ago has she talks about the genesis of the idea, the extraordinary local support it has received, and her serendipitous connection to one of the casualties of WWII, Easton’s Howard Hill, and an unexpected and moving meeting with Howard’s son.
This video is approximately nine minutes in length. To make a donation to the KIA War Memorial project please send a check to the KIA War Memorial Fund at the Mid-Shore Community Foundation at 102 East Dover Street, Easton MD 21601. Electronic donations can be made here and should include a note designating the gift to the KIA War Memorial Fund.