Back in 1988 a group of veterans in Northern California got together and founded the Living Memorial Sculpture Garden. The veterans convinced the U.S. Park Service to help them honor those who have served in the nation’s armed forces by turning over 136 acres of land to be used for the Garden on the northwestern slope of Mt Shasta in Siskiyou County, California, not far south of the Oregon border.
The Garden, which today is sponsored and maintained by the Kiwanis Club of Weed/Lake Shastina, has been planted with tens of thousands of trees to honor those who have perished in the nation’s wars. Enhancing the site is the sculpture garden itself, the work of Dennis Smith, a former Marine who served with Bravo Company, 1/26 in Vietnam during the Siege of Khe Sanh.
“The sculptures at the Living Memorial Sculpture Garden are beautiful depictions of the human form as we might view it: engaged in war and yet at the same time reacting to the atrocities of war, or suffering from the aftermath, ” the documentary filmmaker Ken Rodgers wrote recently after paying a visit to his fellow Khe Sanh veteran at the Garden.
“They are thought-provoking, expressive, and evocative of something more difficult to discover, the ‘why’ of war and it’s aftermath.”
Rodgers and his wife Betty co-produced and co-directed the sterling Khe Sanh documentary Bravo! Common Men, Uncommon Valor.
Ken Rodgers and Dennis Smith