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Penny Project

Our National Motto bracketed by the vietnam era helicopters, the Huey and the Cobra. Our motto has 58,272 pennies attached, each representing, by year, a death of a soldier in Vietnam.

 

A small bit of information explaining why pennies used to pay tribute to those that died in the Vietnam War. When making reference to the Wall we are also referring to our national motto IN GOD WE TRUST and how each penny is represented here.

There is 58,272 pennies making up our national motto, IN GOD WE TRUST.

The pennies are arranged in groups of years as they were collected starting with the year of the first death.

It has been 36 years since the last in-country casualties.

The first known casualty was Richard B. Fitzgibbon, of North Weymouth, Mass. Listed by the U.S. Department of Defense as having been killed on June 8, 1956. His name is listed on the Wall in Washington DC with that of his son, Marine Corps Lance Cpl.  Richard B. Fitzgibbon III, who was killed on Sept. 7, 1965

There are three sets of fathers and sons on the wall.

39,996 on the wall were just 22 or younger.

8,283 were just 19 years old.

The largest age group, 33,103 were 18 years old.

12 soldiers on the wall were 17 years old.

5 soldiers on the wall were 16 years old.

One soldier, PFC Dan Bullock was 15.

997 soldiers were killed on their first day in Vietnam.

1,448 soldiers were killed on their last day in Vietnam.

31 sets of brothers are on the wall.

Thirty one sets of parents lost two of their sons.

54 soldiers attended Thomas Edison High School in Philadelphia.

8 Women are on the wall. Nursing the wounded.

244 soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War; 153 of them are on the wall.

Beallsville, Ohio population 475 lost 6 of her sons.

West Virginia had the highest casualty rate per capita in the nation, 711.

The Marines of Morenci- They led some of the scrappiest high school football and basketball teams that the little Arizona copper town of Morenci (pop.5,058 ) had ever known and cheered. They enjoyed roaring beer busts. In Quieter moments , they rode horses along the Coronado trail, stalked deer in the Apache National Forest. And in the patriotic camaraderie typical of Morenci’s mining families , the nine graduates of Morenci High enlisted as a group in the Marine Corps. Their service began on Independence Day, 1966. Only 3 returned home.

The buddies of Midvale- LeRoy Tafoya, Jimmy Martinez, Tom Gonzales were all boyhood friends and lived on three consecutive streets in Midvale, Utah on Fifth, Sixth and Seventh avenues. They lived only a few yards apart. They played ball at the adjacent sandlot ball field, and they all went to Vietnam. In a span of
16 dark days in late 1967, all three would be killed. LeRoy  was killed on Wednesday, Nov.22, the fourth anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Jimmy died less than 24 hours later on Thanksgiving Day. Tom was shot dead assaulting the enemy on Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

The most casualty deaths for a single day was on January 31, 1968~ 245 deaths.

The most casualty deaths for a single month was May 1968~ 2,415 deaths.

There are 226 Native Americans on the Wall.

After the wall was dedicated President Regan authorized the names of 68 Marines
to be placed on the Wall. Their plane crashed on the way to R&R in Hong Kong
from Vietnam , killing all 68 Marines .

For most Americans who will read this and view our national motto, IN GOD WE TRUST, they may be overwhelmed ( and they should be ) by the thought of each penny representing a life taken by the Vietnam War. To those of us who survived
the war, and to the families of those who did not , we see the faces, we feel the pain that those pennies represent. We are, and will be haunted , until we too pass away, because they were our friends, fathers, husbands, wives, sons and daughters.

There are no noble wars, just noble warriors.

Committee Member Dennis Withers carried this saying on the back of his Zippo lighter while serving in Vietnam.

It took almost as long to collect the 58,272 pennies as it did for the war to end (we began collecting pennies around 2005).

The original draft of our motto, "In God We Trust," was designed to hold exactly 58,272 pennies. As plans continued and the cost went up, the size of the letters went down and changed the layout. That is the main reason some letters, front and back, and the edges are used and some are not.