Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Highland Park. The area that contained the missing last 19 granite timepieces. [Photo: David Kramer, 11/10/20]
The Timeline at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial of Greater Rochester in Highland Park is a unique historical repository. The four foot long pieces begin at 300 B.C. — depicting the first migrations from China to what is now Vietnam — and is meant to end with the bombings of the World Trade Centers on September 11th, 2001.In last few years, we’ve looked closely at the Timeline within the contexts of the rise and fall of Imperial Japan, the rise and fall of General Douglass MacArthur, the Eisenhower presidency and nuclear armageddon , the Cambodian and Laotian civil wars, sports in the 1960’s, the civil rights movement, and the women’s rights movement. (SEE ALL ARTICLES AT END)
A few weeks ago, I finally had the chance to meet the creator of the Timeline, Barry Culhane. Although Barry now uses a motorized wheel chair, he was eager to meet at the Timeline, his decades long labor of love.
As we toured the Memorial, Barry pointed to features of the Walk I didn’t know, describing how the area was carefully landscaped to represent the undulating hills of Vietnam. We spoke with about six people, some of whom were experiencing the Timeline for the first time. They were thrilled to meet the its creator, thanked Barry for his work and told their own stories of relatives who served in Vietnam.Barry also cleared up one mystery. When I’ve walked the Timeline, I’ve wondered why the trail ends abruptly in March 1973 although many important events in the Indochinese conflicts occurred after 1973. In 2006, after Barry had left the Board of the Greater Rochester Vietnam Veterans Memorial Corporation, the last 19 timepieces were removed ostensibly for cleaning and repair. However, the pieces were never returned. Barry has yet to discover where the pieces are or if they still exist. Recently, Barry is renewing his efforts to find the pieces. At the Memorial, Barry gave me prints on the missing pieces that I posted (SEE BELOW) so current visitors can imagine the Timeline in its finished form. We are also asking the community for any information on the missing 19 pieces.
If you have any information or ideas as to how we can locate the pieces, email David Kramer at [email protected] or leave a comment in the comment section at the end of the article.
During our walk, Barry explained his sense of urgency. Recently, Barry has suffered some health setbacks. His fervent desire is to see the Timeline restored, leaving it intact for future generations to be educated and moved.
As we talked, it was clear that Barry is not motivated by vanity or ego. Barry’s primary concern is that the memory of veterans who served and all those who suffered be preserved. Barry talked about the efforts by so many to build the timeline, bollards, gardens, sculptures and monuments. The empty spots where stood the pieces feels like a hole in the mosaic of the Memorial. Barry wants to make the Memorial whole again.
For more information, see Save the Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial: A Walk Through Time: 300 B.C – 2001 by Barry Culhane
The Timeline series