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Winthrop’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial – 25 Years Later
Vietnam Veterans Memorial at the old Winthrop High School
Vietnam Veterans Memorial at the new Winthrop Middle/High School
     The Winthrop Vietnam Veterans Memorial serves as a way to look back on a war that resonates in policies, in academia and in wounds that never healed. The men who are named on this memorial are forever young, their lives unfinished, their promise unfulfilled. The Scottish poet Thomas Campbell (1777-1844) wrote: “To live in the hearts you leave behind is not to die.” This small memorial lets them live.
     The memorial is also a path to consider the enormous cost of war that a small town contributes to the commonweal. How would Winthrop be different if these young men had never died in a far-away war or if they had returned to pick up their lives in this peninsula by the ocean? My own high school class reunion would include at least 3 more people; the class ahead of mine, one; the class after, 2 or 3.
     My Master’s Thesis was given the UMass/Boston American Civilization Program’s Award for Academic Excellence in the Spring of 1990. I was – and am – pleased that my work was so highly praised. But it is Alan Johnson, one of my classmates who served in Vietnam, who has paid me the highest compliment I have ever received; he said, “You have been a true friend to, not only the Winthrop boys, particularly the ones we lost, but also to all Viet Nam vets.”
     I am proud that this tribute is part of Winthrop, that the memorial hangs in the high school. I worked diligently on this project and I am gratified that my work has made a difference for Vietnam veterans.
- Ellen Pinzur - Memorial Day, 2017

Eight Names on a Wall
Winthrop's Vietnam Veterans Memorial

A Thesis Presented
By Ellen Pinzur
Submitted to the office of Graduate Studies and Research
of the University of Massachusetts at Boston in partial
fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
December, 1990
American Civilization Program
       In early 1988 the Winthrop School Committee authorized the creation of a Vietnam Veterans Memorial dedicated to the memory of local residents who had died during the Vietnam War. This memorial was dedicated and installed in the lobby of Winthrop High School on Sunday, May 22, 1988. This study examines two groups of people connected to the Winthrop Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The first group consists of those people in the community who helped create the monument; the second group consists of members of the families whose sons' and brothers' names comprise the memorial itself.
        I conducted oral-history interviews with fourteen people; I spoke on the telephone with five others; and I had in-person conversations with two additional people. I wrote to and received information from four military archives bureaucracies, two state bureaus of vital statistics, two public high schools, one parochial elementary school and one university; I also received a letter from an uncle of one of the young men whose name is on the memorial.
        The "Background Interviews" focus on the issue of creating a Winthrop Vietnam Veterans Memorial and placing it in the high school as well as on how it will be used by the community. The "Names on the Wall" section reveals an untold story of the Vietnam War - that of the families of the deceased. These stories include descriptions of family life, how these young men grew and developed, and how these families have coped with the ultimate tragedy that Herodotus wrote about in the 5th Century B.C.E.: "In peace, children inter their parents; war violates the order of nature and causes parents to inter their children."
All original materials available at the Winthrop Public Library
Thesis - PDF (2.5MB): Click here
Index of Names - (30KB PDF): Click here
DVD - High School Vietnam Memorial Dedication 1988
DVD - High School Vietnam Memorial Dedication 2017
Newspaper articles, 1988 Dedication - (5MB PDF): Click here
Newspaper articles, 2017 Dedication - (1MB PDF): Click here
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