POINTE COUPEE PARISH, La. (WAFB) - Paid for by the very bricks by which it proudly stands, the Pointe Coupee Veterans Memorial is one of the parish’s most cherished sites.
A retired U.S. Army combat engineer from the Vietnam era, George Miller, was instrumental in the development of the memorial. He approached the Pointe Coupee General Hospital board in 2011 and asked for a 60-square-foot plot of land.
“They gave us exactly 60 x 60,” Miller said.
To fund the nearly $160,000 project, Miller sold bricks in honor or memory of service members.
“My goal when we first started it was to have 600 bricks,” Miller said. “We have 1,821 bricks on our monument.”
And it’s still growing.
The monument pays honor and respect to every branch of the military. It features 4-feet tall granite stones supporting the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marines.
“A lot of monuments don’t have the Merchant Marines,” Miller said. “But the Merchant Marines lost more people than anybody.”
U.S. Merchant Marines served on ships that brought supplies to Vietnam during “The War Without a Front.” Supply ships were not equipped with guns, meaning they had no defense.
“We made sure that we put the Merchant Marine," Miller said.
The monument has a flagpole that’s strictly for those missing in action or prisoners of war.
“We thought through this thing to represent every branch of the service,” Miller said.
The monument was dedicated in 2016. Small batches of personalized bricks are still available to purchase. To participate, fill out the brick order form.
“When you go to basic training, each one of us relies on each other and got your back,” Miller recollected. “When you find out those people didn’t come back, I still get goosebumps about that.”